Last week I wrote about how video marketing can be an important part of a brand’s marketing strategy. The end goal for most video marketers and individuals is for their video to go “viral”. First, I will explain the term “viral” as it applies to online content.
Most people have heard the term viral before especially since it has become a popular buzz word in the digital marketing world. Video content is the most common form of media to go viral because it is entertaining, engaging and easy to share through social media. However, other forms of media can also go viral like images and online games. The origins of the term viral come from the way that a virus spreads in the physical world. One person makes contact with the contagion (in this case the video, game or news story) and then spreads this to the people that they come into contact with who in turn spread it to their friends. Soon this piece of content is all over the internet and millions of people interact with it. The most popular ways of spreading a viral video is by posting links to the video on social media platforms, sending them through email or embedding content into their blogs and websites.
The appeal of having a brand’s message “go viral” is obvious. Viral videos are seen by so many people of so many demographics that they are almost sure to reach a company’s target market. Many marketers and companies forget that a creating a viral video is a process that is entirely dictated by public opinion. Companies or marketing teams say “let’s make a viral video” without realizing that this is impossible. One cannot produce content that is inherently viral because the online public decides what is worthy of spreading, not the creator. Saying that you will make a viral video is the same as a company saying “We are going to create the most popular line of pens ever”. You can create a wonderful line of pens that by all accounts should be popular but if people don’t want to buy them they won’t be the most popular pens ever to hit the market. It is up to the consumer to decide whether they like your pens just as it is up to the online public to decide whether your ad, game or video is worth spreading.