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. Personally, I disagree recent examples of online videos going viral include the Kony video which was clearly meant to go viral, but my guess is that the author never thought that it would never attract the sort of traffic that it did; moreover the Anfield Cat, was another more uplifting example of a campaign that has recently gone viral, however 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.
Global media solutions company Viral Planet argues that the creation and delivery of successful viral campaigns is far more scientific and provides us some insight into his expertise in this area:
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, some examples of these are Paddy Power’s video campaign “Chav Tranquilizer’s” campaign, where humor is clearly combined with the traditional and commonly viewed stiff upper lip event of the Cheltenham Festival. Paddy Power clearly captures the moment and integrates the content and the Cheltenham event with the brand with laughter and light humor;
High Quality and Relevant Content
Using the same Paddy Power above, the content and setting was clearly relevant in terms of the brand and engaged the audience in a funny way. This campaign was genuinely creative and the content was highly relevant to the target audience and was clearly meant to be controversial which typically engenders “Social Sharing”;
This leads us onto social sharing and again using this campaign as an example it was clearly designed as a viral marketing campaign, hence it was designed with Social Sharing in mind as people using all manner of social sharing mechanisms including traditional email. If one Google’s this campaign, then there are some comments about this campaign being banned on TV, the “Social Controversy” approach has clearly been integrated into this video ad with a view to creating Social Conversations on a grand scale;
Brands and Products
It is vital that the content, the campaign theme and setting is clearly identifiable and relevant to the brand and product to ensure that the audience is relevant to the brand and ultimately to the end product to which the brand wants the audience to engage with. Also 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, but brands are also using online video advertising to launch products and services.
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. Hence the first ten to fifteen seconds should really captivate the viewer and at all costs avoid long load times for video and games, remember ever consumer is just one click away from your competitor. With technology consumers are becoming less patient, hence their attention span is reducing, therefore capture your consumer, draw them into your world and make your message stick in their mind;
Viral Video Seeding
Unless the content is exposing to high numbers of users, then it is unlikely that the video advertisement will become a truly viral campaign. Improving the likelihood of a truly viral campaign, it is vital that the video ad is properly and properly seeded in relevant (geography / brand / product / context) distributors as well as the highly known video viewing sites.
Once seeding is properly undertaken, the content should take care of itself via “Social Sharing”, hence if the content works this will lead to a successful viral campaign;
Technical issues and bandwidth
Bandwidth has been an issue in the past, but most people have overcome this issue now with technical solutions. However a high volume viral campaign will probably be viewed from YouTube or a similar format, once the words spreads, however ensure that other distributors have similar levels of bandwidth capabilities and that the quality of the content is not spoiled by bandwidth viewing issues. Ensure that the video ad formats that you use 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;
What’s in it for the Consumer
The reason that commercial radio and TV advertising is successful is that there is something in it for the consumer, as radio stations generally play the latest and most popular music and commercial TV content is generally of a high-quality to attract a certain audience, with TV commercials shown in between TV advertisement breaks. Therefore, there is clearly something in it for the consumer for commercial radio and TV 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) and although rewarded media seems to 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”;
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 benchmark metrics. This will enable you to understand the consumer audience who has interacted with the content, where and at what time. Be wary of gathering too much information (for example email addresses) as this can turn-off your audience and create a barrier for the online video advertisement.
Post campaign evaluation is vital for continual improvement, understand work worked what didn’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 and therefore identify ley tools that can be replicated for future campaigns. Although remember what worked in one campaign may not always work in another, whilst some people agree that this industry is a science others still ague that it there is an art in its overall delivery.