The Viral Video Myth… (and a guide for the rest of us)

Sadly, most of us don’t have marketing budgets matching those of International brands such as Samsung, Evian, Dove or Heineken (which feature in this this weeks viral UK chart). With deeper pockets than most, these megabrands’ ‘viral videos’ clearly enjoy the lions share of online audiences.  However, when an online video ‘goes viral’ this is more likely a result of significant advertising spend, rather than just plain luck, as is often perceived. The videos which do go viral as a result of pure luck, (as evident in  Top Ten viral video of 2012 list), tend to either feature stupid people, drunk people, bad singers, or combination of all.

The ones that aren’t a case of being in the right / wrong place at the right time, are known as ‘social videos’ (due to their share-ability). This recent phenomenon in video marketing is swiftly becoming one of the key advertising  channels for brands wanting to tap into the huge audiences hanging out on social media sites. We’re not just talking about Youtube (which tends to be the host). Most of the major social media sites now allow your promotional video to be shared, and it’s these ‘shares’ which are the measure of a successful campaign. The stats are staggering; a ‘trending’ video (such as Call of Duty: Ghosts) can enjoy upwards of 150,000 shares in 24 hours, 5 million views and over 7000 comments in a week! Not bad publicity for a computer game. Sure, it helps if you have a chart topping product and a loyal army of followers. More importantly though, you’ll require a huge amount of money poured into ‘pay per click’ video advertising on the likes of Youtube.

By enabling organisations to put their video in front of target audiences, the Worlds second largest search engine creates the inertia a video requires to generate the kind of shares we’d all dream of.

So what can be achieved with a modest budget? Well, the rest of us shouldn’t be too disheartened by this news. Successful video marketing is more than blowing your budget on kick starting a ‘social video’ campaign. It’s also more than simply uploading your promotional video to Youtube and hoping for ‘hits’.

Beyond creating a video which is deemed ‘share-worthy’ by your online target audiences, it’s important to ensure that you have correctly optimised your video. What search terms would you ideally like to be found under? Do you have an existing network of friends, family and colleagues who can give the online video an initial push? What other social media networks are you able to link your video too? Linked In, Facebook, Twitter are all video friendly and will provide you with additional platforms through which to link audiences to your video.

And, just in case you were wondering, spending thousands on having a video produced, won’t guarantee you thousands of ‘hits’.

We were approached by Emma Newham of My Body studios. She wanted to create a promotional video which needed have a ‘home-made’ feel about it. The video we created is just about as simple as they come; we simply pressed record!  In order to ensure maximum exposure (among her target audience) we then helped Emma market the video professionally online via Youtube and other social networks.

The Barre Concept workout video has enjoyed over 285,000 views through Emma’s Youtube channel. It’s stimulated hundreds of conversations, driven thousands of new viewers to her Pilates Union website, sold DVDs and kick started many new business opportunities. Not bad for a video and marketing support costing less than £300!

The moral of the story is, if you want to reach new online audiences then take a considered approach to video production. It’s not about spending thousands; it’s about effectively integrating video into your marketing strategy and then converting viewers in to customers.