The Theory Of Viral Marketing Via Videos And Websites

The Theory Of Viral Marketing Via Videos And Websites

Introduction and Background

Viral marketing is​ the​ holy grail of​ marketing. the​ goal of​ any successful marketing campaign is​ to​ generate buzz and awareness about the​ product or​ service being offered. if​ done correctly,​ the​ campaign will generate expansive reach,​ strong brand-building,​ strong sales,​ all at​ a​ relatively low production and distribution cost.

Viral marketing can occur through many mediums,​ but the​ Internet is​ currently the​ reigning champion. Cheap resources (always-on internet access),​ efficiency in​ building contact networks (email,​ messengers,​ blogs,​ websites,​ etc.),​ and an​ abundance of​ new content (think means that there is​ always something interesting and easy to​ share. Videos and websites are probably the​ most effective internet platforms for internet viral marketing.

The caveat of​ viral marketing is​ that since you​ are leveraging other people's resources (their time and effort,​ their email lists,​ etc.),​ they will be on​ the​ lookout for signs of​ commercialism. a​ person will not spread a​ company's message because there is​ no benefit for him. He actually suffers because he is​ losing credibility among friends. on​ the​ other hand,​ if​ the​ same person told his friends to​ give to​ an​ orphanage or​ other charity,​ he will be well received and appear magnanimous.

So assuming that your target viral marketer – the​ person who sees your ad and must spread the​ advertisement to​ his acquaintances – falls somewhere in​ between the​ extremes of​ shamelessly plugging a​ company and expounding upon the​ virtues of​ charity,​ you​ must balance the​ inherent commercialism with his desire to​ spread your message. you​ must produce something so interesting and compelling that your target marketer has no choice but to​ share it,​ marketing message payload and all.

So here is​ where we strike upon the​ most difficult challenge of​ creating a​ successful viral marketing campaign – finding the​ balance of​ creativity and uniqueness while not diminishing the​ purpose of​ your marketing in​ the​ first place. the​ challenge is​ stiff: too commercial and it​ will not spread beyond the​ first marketer,​ too radical and your brand image may no longer match the​ content of​ the​ advertisement. However,​ do not despair. it​ has been done with impressive success,​ and as​ long as​ there is​ an​ audience of​ willing consumers,​ many more impressively successful campaigns will manifest.

Examples of​ Successful Commercial Viral Videos

The Superbowl is​ the​ largest television event in​ America. Every year,​ 40 percent of​ America households,​ or​ approximately 80-90 million Americans,​ are tuned into the​ Superbowl at​ some time. the​ 30 second Superbowl commercial,​ the​ most revered spot in​ American broadcasting,​ sold for a​ reported $2.5 million in​ the​ 2018 Superbowl.

With viral marketing,​ the​ same level audience can be reached,​ but at​ a​ fraction of​ the​ cost. the​ best viral marketing is​ not blasted at​ once to​ a​ large audience,​ but once seeded to​ a​ few individuals,​ will grow until many millions of​ people will have heard of​ it. Importantly,​ these people are not just receiving a​ television broadcast,​ but they are telling their friends about it,​ discussing it,​ joking about it,​ and making a​ mental impression of​ it. One person who tells others about a​ video he saw is​ more valuable than 10 who see your video and forget about it.

One successful viral video shows 2 men dressed in​ lab coats demonstrating the​ befuddling Diet Coke and Mentos chemical reaction. Apparently,​ if​ you​ drop Mentos breath mints into Diet Coke,​ it​ creates a​ reaction akin to​ mixing baking soda and vinegar. Many videos were produced,​ but this particular video was probably the​ best produced,​ including a​ musically choreographed demonstration of​ over 100 Diet Coke and Mentos fountains. After being featured on​ CNN,​ it​ was revealed that the​ video's creators had already made several tens of​ thousands of​ dollars selling the​ advertisements at​ the​ beginning and end of​ the​ video.

- Coca Cola and Mentos

The Diet Coke video is​ an​ example of​ how viral videos can make money. But a​ company that wishes to​ get exposure needs a​ different approach. One way is​ for the​ company to​ sponsor the​ creation of​ a​ new video (or the​ sequel of​ a​ previously popular video),​ and then intersperse the​ company's logo and website throughout the​ video. a​ good example of​ this is​ Stride gum's commission of​ "Where the​ Hell is​ Matt" – a​ video that shows Matt dancing for a​ few seconds at​ dozens of​ places around the​ world,​ all set to​ funny music. the​ video is​ novel and ridiculous at​ the​ same time – just how many airports,​ customs,​ and taxis did Matt and his crew have to​ go through just to​ shoot a​ few seconds of​ Matt's dancing? Anyways,​ the​ video took off,​ and Stride cannot be disappointed with their return on​ investment.

- Where the​ Hell is​ Matt?

However,​ the​ Matt video still only straddles the​ line of​ balancing commercialism and content. the​ perfect video would both integrate the​ company's product with content so compelling that the​ commercial aspect is​ no longer a​ concern. to​ remove the​ commercial aspect would destroy the​ very fabric of​ the​ commercial. Below,​ I have included the​ links of​ 2 successfully circulated videos,​ one for Coca-Cola and one for Carlton Draught. These ads are classics of​ viral marketing because of​ their power,​ their persuasiveness,​ and elegance in​ weaving together commercialism and content.

- Carlton Draught Big Ad
- Coke Happiness Factory

A Case Study for Successful Web Marketing

Viral videos excite on​ a​ visual and auditory level,​ but have limitations in​ spreading your company's message. Unless you​ are making a​ branding video,​ and can pull of​ something like Coke or​ Carlton Draught,​ the​ user may not even know what your company does unless he goes to​ your website or​ otherwise tries your product. a​ website can be a​ successful viral platform that not only generates visitors,​ but can also deliver your company's message. in​ this case study,​ we will look at​ a​ service called AdCubes that combines all the​ elements of​ successful viral web marketing.

- AdCubes

The first element that of​ a​ successful viral website is​ to​ have an​ idea that is​ at​ once unique and creative. the​ website must offer something the​ visitor and the​ visitor's friends will need. in​ the​ case of​ the​ AdCubes,​ the​ product is​ mundane – it​ is​ an​ advertisement that is​ sold to​ anybody who wishes to​ purchase it. However,​ the​ concept is​ unique. Each ad cube costs $1 more than the​ previous one. as​ more and more people visit the​ site,​ the​ ads become more valuable,​ and the​ price is​ naturally driven up by purchases made by the​ same visitors.

The payoff for buying an​ ad is​ huge – the​ person who purchased the​ first ad for $1 has received hundreds of​ clicks for his investment. as​ the​ value of​ the​ ads increase,​ people will return to​ the​ site often,​ morbidly curious how much advertisers would pay for the​ same cube that others have purchased for less. Will the​ price top out at​ $100 per cube? or​ will it​ be nearer $100,​000?

The beauty of​ this system is​ that it​ is​ self-reinforcing. People will come and buy ads,​ and tell their friends about the​ site. as​ more and more buzz builds,​ traffic increases,​ advertisers increase,​ and the​ price of​ the​ ads increases. the​ increasing price drives more buzz,​ and eventually will garner media attention. Then when buzz is​ peaking,​ the​ price of​ ads will peak as​ well,​ driving higher and higher interest in​ the​ concept. in​ the​ end,​ the​ payoff to​ the​ site's owners could be millions of​ dollars. the​ payoff to​ advertisers could be millions of​ impressions and thousands of​ clicks. the​ payoff to​ visitors would be to​ witness a​ web phenomenon in​ action.

Of course,​ there is​ a​ lot of​ seeding that must be done before a​ site can successfully become a​ viral property. However,​ once the​ seeding process begins,​ a​ well-planned site will grow closer and closer each day toward critical mass. Once the​ critical mass is​ satisfied,​ then the​ site truly becomes viral,​ growing more and more popular without any input from the​ creators. This process can be facilitated by improving distribution channels. in​ the​ case of​ AdCubes,​ a​ links page allows webmasters and blogs to​ easily post about the​ site. Each sales confirmation email also contains a​ request for the​ advertiser to​ tell his acquaintances about his new AdCube.

There are many approaches to​ making a​ successful viral web site,​ but the​ basics are the​ same. you​ must have compelling content,​ it​ must be accessible for free or​ at​ low cost,​ and it​ must be easy to​ transmit. Once the​ basics are in​ place,​ the​ only thing left is​ seeding the​ first visitors until you​ reach the​ critical mass.

Additional Successful Web Marketing

- the​ Subservient Chicken from Burger King
- I Love Bees for Halo2
- the​ Million Dollar Homepage


It is​ essential for marketers to​ understand viral marketing. Why spend resources on​ getting your company message out when you​ can recruit others to​ do it​ for you? you​ will need to​ have creativity in​ spades to​ find that all-compelling idea that people cannot help but spread,​ but find that idea,​ and you​ will be well on​ your way toward profiting from the​ holy grail of​ marketing.

Resources Referenced
- Youtube Videos
- International Business Times

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