Keys to Going Viral

In conversations about marketing strategies using online media, the words “go viral” often come up. For me, they bring to mind campaigns that are memorable and fun to share because of humor or shock value. For example, most people are familiar with the Old Spice campaign advertisements that have accrued an enormous fan base around the world. The link above is a special report from that gives readers 10 concrete and thoughtful tips about effective viral digital advertising:

1. Start with a goal for your brand

2. Pick a creative concept that’s going to grab attention

3. Encouragement encouragement

4. Go easy on the branding

5. If you use heavy branding, use it wisely

6. The more the merrier

7. Celebrities don’t guarantee views

8. Network, network, network

9. Use paid media strategically

10. Dont underestimate Facebook

I have picked out a few that name some very important ideas that indicate the directions in which advertising seems to be moving.

3. Encourage engagement: Many campaigns in the recent years have focused on rallying audience participation through contests, crowd-sourcing, social media interactions etc. Recognizing that consumers become more invested and loyal to a product or brand when they feel that their voices are heard is key component of promoting viral media, since the consumers are the primary source of promotion.

6. The more the merrier: While many consumers get easily overwhelmed by the number of options presented to them in the store, the threat of saturation does not apply in the media. The author recommends creating alternative viral video clips, using web series ad opposed to just one video, and dispersing the videos through a variety of media, so that consumers are not only familiar with the brand from mere exposure, but stimulated by the variety and energy.

7. Celebrities don’t guarantee interviews: Too many companies have signed celebrity endorsers to boost sales, and some of the campaigns seem to ride entirely on the brand equity the celebrity brings. Perhaps consumers are wizening up and recognizing that they too often, such tactics merely have famous people being paid too much money to hold a bottle and smile, and would rather see advertisements that have more a more genial tone of voice that engages them in a more personal manner (see point #3).

10. Don’t underestimate Facebook: Facebook and other social networking tools are becoming powerhouses of information, networking and influence. The flexibility and mobility such platforms they provide viral campaigns cannot be underestimated by any means.

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2 Responses to Keys to Going Viral

  1. Cece Sun says:

    Point#3 and #10 make me think about the great influences that social networking sites exert on current marketing strategies.
    Customers’ behavior habits have changed with the technology development nowadays. They show less respondence to traditional mass media advertisements and are showing more preference to customer-to-customer communication such as blogging, Facebooking, mobile texting, web-based forum discussion and word-of-mouth marketing. These changes force marketers to rethink how they can effectively convey their messages to target customers and engage with them, just as point#3 mentioned. They can no longer rely on old fashioned mass marketing channels to “push”communications to customers in one direction in this new customer-focused environment. At this moment,social networking sites are effective tools to build up two way communication between marketers and customers.
    The superior effectiveness of SNSs comes from their easy access to reach different customer groups from all over the world. At the same time, through this platform marketers can gain insight into how customers think, feel and behave by tracking down their searching and clicking history as well as recording their comments, suggestions, complains and compliments about products and services that companies offer. Consequently, marketers can design or improve the campaigns and promotions according to customers feedbacks to achieve better result.

  2. marthaad says:

    This is a great resource and these concepts seem like they would be helpful in increasing the effectiveness of a viral campaign. However, I think it is difficult to create a formula for something to go viral. I think you just never know if a particular video or ad will reach that immediate success with such a broad audience. Something seemingly unimportant and a “stupid” idea could really click. But, a company doesn’t really ever fail when trying to create a viral campaign if minimal monetary resources are allocated to it. Reason being is because information is still passed about the company to an audience. Although, viral campaigns should be housed within larger ones. Perhaps, viral campaigns should be considered as the test platform for a larger campaign concept. This way there is not a loss of resources, time wasted, and more buzz is generated about the company than before.