What Some Agencies and Marketing Executives Don’t Understand About Viral Videos

In a recent conversation with a Madison Avenue executive, he told me how many times Proctor & Gamble asked his agency to help them go viral. The agency convinced P&G it was not a viable strategy. The conversation supported the idea that many marketing executives and their agencies still don’t really know how viral content happens. Is it only lightning in a bottle or is there a strategy to it?

In the world of viral marketing, we have a phrase that goes “content is king, and seeding is queen.” The content should evoke emotions and entertain the audience while the seeding is represented by the paid buys that drive traffic to the content. Many marketers and agencies believe the content is the determinant of virality. The truth is the seeding is what can predictably cause virality.

The contemporary brands that are known to release plenty of viral videos like Samsung, Nike, Old Spice, Dove, and Red Bull, are often executing massive paid buys to drive their view counters up on YouTube and other video hosting sites. The initial paid buy is what drives the subsequent earned views that are driven by sharing and conversation.

At ViralGains, we have another phrase that goes “the paid buy should be equal to the production cost.” When spending $250,000 to produce a video, the paid buy to support it should be an equal spend of $250,000. Otherwise, don’t bother making the video unless you’re confident the content will be good enough. There are only a few creatives that have learned to ensure virality through content alone, such as Thinkmodo. We make this suggestion because why make the content if no one will see it?

The conclusion is that contemporary brands that are often going viral have made the investment to do so. The results for them are fantastic as a recent story says these brands are out performing the S&P 500 by 31%.

p.s. When talking about all these viral videos it’s good to ask What Qualifies as a Viral Video?

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