Video ads are a form of digital information products which contain some type of knowledge, information or entertainment. The information contained spreads across the social system as consumers view and then shares the ads on social networks. In today’s social media world, a major goal of advertisers is to create viral ads that are shared by a large of number of consumers. This study attempts to understand what characteristics of video ads influence the extent to which they are shared. We collected the number of social shares for a large number of YouTube ads. We coded the content of these ads on over 30 executional cues drawn from the behavioral literature on advertising. Our empirical analysis obtains new findings consistent with our theorizing but contrary to current practice. These results provide important implications for effective ad design and customer communications.