There are many that say that the creation of high traffic viral campaigns is a science and not an art and that luck has little to do with it. There are arguments for and against, although there are some expert providers in this space who may ether agree or disagree with this argument and there are some that actually it is both a science and an art.
Recent examples of online videos going viral include:
Konyvideo– This video was clearly designed to go viral, but it is unlikely that the author thought that it would attract an audience of over 75 million viewers across the planet however was this because that it ticked the “Social Controversy” box?
Anfield Cat – This is a more uplifting online video clip, but I ask myself was the cat let out of the bag by accident or was it a cleverly designed video campaign by an animal lover who knew how to create and design a viral campaign.
1. Capture the Moment
There are several events that enable us to Capture the Moment and companies are using these events to project their brands onto the consumer. One example would be Paddy Power’s video campaign “Chav Tranquilizer’s“. This clearly combines humour with the traditional, more commonly viewed stiff upper lip event of the Cheltenham Festival.
Paddy Power has clearly captured the moment and integrated the content and the Cheltenham event with the brand making use of laughter and light humour.
2. High Quality and Relevant Content
Using the same Paddy Power example, the content and setting was clearly relevant in terms of the brand and capturing the audience in a funny way. This campaign was genuinely creative and the content was highly relevant to the target audience. This was clearly meant to be controversial which typically engenders “Social Sharing“;
3. Social Sharing
The Paddy Power campaign was clearly designed as a viral marketing tool; hence it was designed with Social Sharing in mind. People use all types of social sharing mechanisms, such as traditional email.
If you Google Chav Tranquilizer’s“, you will see comments about this campaign being banned on TV. This brings into play the “Social Controversy” approach, which has clearly been integrated into this video ad with a view to creating Social Conversations on a grand scale;
4. Brands and Products
It is vital that the content, the campaign theme and the setting are clearly identifiable and relevant to the brand and to the product. This is to ensure the brand and ultimately the end product engages with the target audience. Remember, not to be too commercial, this is generally a consumer put-off and will not engender “Social Sharing”. Viral campaigns are largely used to engender brand awareness; however brands are also now using online video advertising to launch products and services.
5. Consumer Attention Span
Content length is vital to get right. Too short and you can lose the message, too long and you can lose the audience. Therefore, it is important to ensure the first ten to fifteen seconds really captivate the viewer and at all costs avoid long load times for videos and games. Rememberevery consumer is just one click away from your competitor. With technology, consumers are becoming increasing impatient; hence their attention span is reducing.
capture your consumer, draw them into your world and make your message stick in their mind;
6. Viral Video Seeding
Unless the content is exposed to high numbers of users it is unlikely that the video advertisement will become a truly viral campaign.
To improve the likelihood of a truly viral campaign, it is vital that the video ad is properly seeded (geography / brand / product / context / relevance) with relevant distributors as well as with the highly known video viewing sites and blogs.
Once seeding is properly undertaken the content should take care of itself via “Social Sharing” hence on the basis that that the content works this will lead to a successful viral campaign;
7. Technical issues and bandwidth
Bandwidth has been an issue in the past but most providers have overcome this with much more robust technical solutions.
High volume viral campaigns would usually be viewed from sites like YouTube or similar video sharing sites; once the word spreads you then need to ensure that:
(i) other distributors have similar levels of bandwidth capabilities and that the quality of the content is not spoiled by bandwidth viewing issues;
(ii) the video ad formats you provide are used by the large majority of consumers and have minimum resistance to viewing; hence be wary of video formats that require special plug-ins or software upgrades. Use a few of the most common formats and ensure that consumer compatibility remains in the high ninety-nine percentile;
8. What’s in it for the Consumer?
The reason commercial radio and TV advertising has been and continues to successful is due to the fact that there is something in it for the consumer.
Radio stations generally play the latest and most popular music whereas commercial TV content is generally of a high-quality to attract a certain audience, with TV commercials being shown in between TV advertisement breaks. Therefore there is clearly something in it for the consumer with commercial radio and TV media.
However in the online world this is sometimes amiss as brands prefer their online video ads to be free of “Rewarded Media”.
Rewarded media has its place and can play an important part in terms of “Social Sharing” (everyone likes to receive and share a bargain with their friends). Whilst Rewarded Media seems to be a taboo in this segment it could play an important part for product launches and film releases especially if “Social Sharing” can be integrated someway with “Rewarded Media”;
9. Analytics and key metrics
All viral campaigns should have a campaign distribution plan. This is vital to ensure that the video ad achieves all of the targets and metrics that were initially set-out with the brand.
To ensure that all viral campaigns stay on plan, they should be properly tracked with continual analytics and using key performance metrics. This will help the advertiser to better understand the consumer audiences, who have interacted with the content, providing data such as times of use, places of use etc. Be wary of gathering too much information on potential consumers (for example email addresses) as this can turn-off your audience and create a barrier for the online video advertisement.
10. Continual Improvement
Post campaign evaluation is essential for continued improvement. This will enable you to ascertain important data such as: what has worked and what hasn’t, traffic sources, what consumers were saying in forums and social networking sites.
Try to understand why the video ad generated the level of traffic it did and this should enable you to identify key tools that can be replicated for a future viral campaign.