Viral and Video – Two Good Things That Go Great Together

November 11, 2009
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences


I’m hoping that this viral and video session will be so interesting that no one notices all my sniffles. The ridiculously awesome Barry Schwartz is seated to my left blogging, as well. I’m gonna sniffle in his ear and disrupt this Search Engine Roundtable coverage. Muahaha, sabotage!

It’s time to talk about viral stuff.  I guess that means silly cats who can play piano. Or people getting hit in the face with pumpkins. Or maybe Kim Kardashian.  Up on stage we have AJ Vernet, Jay Schwartz, and Dimitry Ioffe.  Let’s do this.  [high five]

Up first is Jay.

The keys to a successful viral campaign.

Viral marketing: A marketing technique using preexisting social networks to produce an increase in brand awareness.  It’s been around for centuries. Or at least since the 80s.

Goals: retribution against United, bad PR and compensation.

It caused really bad PR for United and led to an offer for compensation.  The artist David Carroll has received award nominations for his music and has even been invited to speak to Congress on passenger’s Bill of Rights. [SERIOUSLY? SERIOUSLY PEOPLE? When you encourage bad behavior, you get MORE bad behavior.]

  • Successful Viral Campaign: Crunch Style Shorts

Goals: Expand brand awareness, increase qualified leads and convey the company brand. In a 2 week period, it accounted for 20 percent of annual leads. They increase Web visits by 40 percent.

Get Beyond the Buzz: Why a Viral Campaign?

Apply traditional assessment techniques before you begin. Make sure that you use logic and common sense. Is viral the right strategy? Decide who’s going to build the campaign? Doing it yourself is a good idea for low-tech/high touch (Facebook, Twitter) campaigns.  You’ll have better interaction during 2-way campaigns.  Outsource when you need a more high tech approach. The right agency will know what works. It will let you focus on your job and  allow them to focus on the viral campaign

How do you select an agency?

Smaller agencies tend to be better. They’re faster, more agile and costs are lower. Make sure they have the right talent and equipment for the campaign you’re going to create. Don’t be afraid to be edgy when coming up with the concept. You don’t have to be everything to everybody. Sex sells. Use humor. You won’t offend your core demographic.

Budget appropriately. Simple is better. Plan on a multi-pronged approach. Make it easy to share. Use popular social networking sharing tools. Include send-to-friend and REWARD your participants.  Nothing rewards pass along than greed.

Track it. If you can’t track it, don’t do it.

Next up is AJ Vernet.

Ways to Distribute Content Online:

  1. Create a Web site, releasing content only in one central location. [Boo]
  2. Build a brand channel and post your content on one of the major video sites like YouTube, MySpace, Hulu, etc.
  3. Work with a video aggregator or ad network o do paid reach.

Video Aggregators: The goal is ease of use and efficiency. These aggregators help you take existing video content and distribute it to a targeted audience wherever they are online.    If you hire someone like AJ [cue pitch] he can go out and form relationships with publishers to put you in the prime spots. [/cue pitch]

Branded Player Capabilities: Distribute long and short form video content through a 300×250 in-page player across select premium sites.   You can add all sorts of bells and whistles like – send to a friend, strong call to actions, house multiple videos, skins and logos, etc.

Spotlight Placements: In-stream placements across select partner sites run advertiser branded video as content. This long-form content is delivered within the native viewing environment and is offered up to the audience as branded entertainment,

What’s Next?

Multi-Screen:  Reach people multiple times on multiple platforms.

Today’s Web syndication has greater targeting capabilities, the ability to dive deep and track engagement and interaction times, and advertising links directly to site information and purchase.  We have the ability to target unique users over and over again. You can tell how old someone is, what they’re searching for, where they live, what they want…and then give it to them. It’s helping people become better marketers.

People doing it right?

  • Miller Lite. They’re creating sports shows online like The Protectors.
  • Kimberly Clark: Green Done Right. They wanted to reach out to housewives.
  • Diet Coke: They created their Style Series.

Three rules to live by:

  • Understand your audience
  • Be economical
  • Don’t post and pray

Lastly is Dimitry. I’m hoping he’s going to nail this cause I’m kind of not impressed at the moment. Oh, Fun Fact: Dimitry once performed on Star Search. That’s cute.

He’s going to start off with a viral video cookbook. It’s a three and a half minute video. We’re going to laugh and we’re going to cry, he says. I embedded it below so you can share in the excitement. It’s because I love you.

There’s no secret ingredient as to what makes something viral. There are many recipes. Thing is, the never quite tast the same.

Video content categories

  • music video
  • film
  • TV
  • UGC
  • ProductAds

He mentions Visible Measures which tracks all sorts of important and cool video stuff.  It’s actually a really neat site. You should give it a look when you have some time to kill or work to put off.

YouTube All Time Top 100 Stats

  • Roughly 75 percent are music videos
  • Remaining 25 percent are UGC and TV.
  • We’re NOT seeing branded content.
  • The 100th most viewed video has 33.5 million views alone
  • Most popular video on YouTube as of Monday is the Charlie bit my finger video WHICH I LOVE and watched 10x a day for probably 3 months. I’m not kidding.

Strategy & Creative

The goal of viral marketing is to take any digital content and create a viral experience around it.

David After Dentist: His dad passed the video around to family one-to-one.   Then, he posted it on YouTube because he could quickly communicate it to his friends and family. Within the first five days, he had over 3 million natural viral views.    The family embraced it. They created a FB page, twitter account and a Web site.  They created T-shirts for people who wanted to become “brand advocates of David” [creepy].  The money it makes is donated to charity.

My Bloody Valentine: They purchased a page on YouTube. They didn’t want to drive people from YouTube to their site. They wanted to extend the brand within YouTube. They wanted to do more than just more video. Video generated 2.7 million views.  It was an award winning campaign.

Elf Yourself by OfficeMax: In 2006, it saw 36 million site views with 11 million Elves made. In 2007, there were 193 million site visits with 123 Elves made. In 2008, they partnered with jibjab which required users to register – which dropped the number of elves to 55 million.  They’ve since removed the registration component.

There’s no secret ingredient to video “going viral”. The only thing you can control is apparoch and execution aka Strategy and Creative. Look to turn anything digital into a viral experience.

And we’re out.  Thoughts on the panel? I’m luke warm on this one.

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