As we pioneer the emerging Viral Video Marketing space, we are often asked what we mean when we use the word “Viral”. Viral Marketing is a concept that has existed for years however it has never been wrangled into a structure. Certain veteran marketers we work with believe we are mavericks for aligning ourselves with the concept of Viral. Consequently, we have been encouraged by our stakeholders to define Viral for the world.
We define Viral as the maximization of Earned Media. For those familiar with the digital media space, that makes a ton of sense. For those who are not, let’s start by defining the concepts of Owned Media, Paid Media, & Earned Media as they relate to Viral Videos.
Owned Media – video content that the brand creates and controls
Paid Media – when the brand pays to leverage distribution channels to seed video content
Earned Media – when customers become advocates for the brand by sharing its video content
The above illustration depicts cartoon caricatures representative of real customers who are maximizing a brand’s Earned Media by sharing its video content. As long as we are optimizing a Paid Media spend to maximize Earned Media, we are meeting our definition of “Viral.” The concept of Earned Media is very exciting to advertising agencies, media planners, and the brands they represent. Our goal is to continue to maximize Earned Media through our technology, thereby creating a structure to Viral Video Marketing.
The common perception of “Viral” are the mega-hit videos you may see on the nightly news. We don’t intend to convey that we guarantee that kind of success. Sure, sometimes it will happen. Most of the time, our goal is the maximization Earned Media and catalyzing conversations around a brand’s video content. The Earned Media we generate can be enough to land a video on the nightly news, but that is not always the case.