Power of Paid Media in Producing Viral Video Success

Imagine that you have the funniest, wittiest, most interesting branded video in the world. You could put it on YouTube and wait for views to come rolling in or upload it to your website, but nothing is going to come of it if no one knows it exists. Sure, if you have thousands of Facebook and Twitter followers, your video may gain traction. Otherwise, there may be little hope of your video spreading organically outside of your limited fan base.

However, if you invest in paid media to jumpstart the process, there’s a greater chance your video will be found, seen and shared. Most of the top branded viral videos have had some kind of paid promotion that drove discovery and sharing (which ultimately fuels virality). Types of paid media include video seeding, paid ads, promoted content on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, paid placements on blogs, publications or paid influencers.

In a recent interview with AdExchanger, the CEO of DollarShaveClub.com, Michael Dubin, discussed paid media as it relates to viral video success. Dubin’s company released a promotional online video in March of 2012 that earned a total of 11 million YouTube views. Dubin and his company were able to drive a lot of organic traffic in the beginning, but are now looking for a 50-50 split between paid and organic.

“Right now I would say paid is more significant, as it drives a larger share of return. I would say that wasn’t the case in the earlier days because we really drove a lot of organic traffic, but now that we have the money, we can increase the awareness and you can do more when you pay,” said Dubin. “But over the long term, the goal is to be about 50% paid and 50% organic…”

It’s true, you can do more when you pay. You can gain more exposure, more interest and even more conversions if you optimize paid media. The best part is that the views don’t stop when you’ve reached the number of views you paid for. Paid media will give your video traction online in the form of views and shares and that will end up generating earned media—excess views and social shares.

So not only does paid media jumpstart your video initially, it also fuels earned media after the fact. As it becomes more and more difficult to achieve organic virality in the online video space, both paid and earned media will become essential in creating branded viral videos.

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