Viral Marketing: Harnessing the Power of Social Sharing

Are you up to par with the latest marketing trends? Have you taken advantage of our fixation with technology to benefit your brand organically?

Through the access of endless portable technologies connecting all people, consumer attention is rapidly moving away from traditional print media, television and radio—and directly into the palm of your hand. If consumers are spending what statistics show as 10% of their time on mobile devices, and advertising continues to spend the bulk of their money on outdated media outlets, where even less time is spent, how will you adapt to maximize your reach to your target audience?

Why not grab your audiences’ attention through an outlet they can immediately react, respond and reiterate to friends, family or unwanted snooper looking over their shoulder. Consumers will always trust suggestions and reviews by friends, social connections and even strangers over advertising. Social Media has created an abundant opportunity for organizations to connect with, and influence conversations about their brand, products, and services.

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Viral is Defined as the Maximization of Earned Media

As we pioneer the emerging Viral Video Marketing space, we are often asked what we mean when we use the word “Viral”. Viral Marketing is a concept that has existed for years however it has never been wrangled into a structure. Certain veteran marketers we work with believe we are mavericks for aligning ourselves with the concept of Viral. Consequently, we have been encouraged by our stakeholders to define Viral for the world.

We define Viral as the maximization of Earned Media. For those familiar with the digital media space, that makes a ton of sense. For those who are not, let’s start by defining the concepts of Owned Media, Paid Media, & Earned Media as they relate to Viral Videos.

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PSY – GANGNAM STYLE: Viral Video Compilation

As much as we at ViralGains like to think we got the whole Viral Video thing “down” to a science, nothing could have prepared us for the PSY phenomenon. Simply no amount of logicizing (why is Firefox saying I’m spelling it wrong <_< …) can explain why this video attained 180,000,000 views on YouTube alone in 2 months, how dozens of spin-offs have also gone Viral, and why it’s continuing to take the world by storm. No, there is no thinking about it: unnecessary. All we can do is say “thank you Park Jae-Sang,” for the awesome-est song of the summer year any of us could ever have asked for!! I’ll no longer include these in my weekly Top 5 feature; I’ll instead compile them here by view count, updating as new ones release. So, without further ado

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The Emerging Shift to Viral Videos

The Nielsen Q4 2011 Cross-Platform Report confirmed the emerging trend that consumers are watching less television in favor of online video. The shift is expected because of the freedom and breadth of video content offered online. The continued acceleration of online video consumption has marketers seeking cutting edge methods to reach and engage their consumers.

The most common forms of online video marketing have been interfering with the consumer experience. Example one is a “pre-roll” – the advertisement a consumer is forced to watch before he gets to watch the video he selected. Example two is the automatic video advertisement that starts playing while a consumer is browsing her favorite website. While these forms of marketing are effective, brands are seeking a deeper connection with consumers.

Enter the viral video. For years the achievement of a Viral Video has been considered elusive. The industry conception was that a brand’s video would go viral if the content was remarkable.

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Digital Recommendations are Highly Effective

The marketing industry has long understood that peer recommendations hold the most power over purchasing decisions. When a consumer makes a recommendation to a peer it is the most effective form of advertising for a brand. As consumers spend more time on the internet it raises an interesting question. How do digital recommendations compare to verbal recommendations? According to a recent study by CrowdTap, digital recommendations have overtaken verbal recommendations.

The finding is great news for digital advertisers who rely on peer recommendations and viral spread to make an impact. The study says that 70% of consumers made a purchasing decision based on an online recommendation while 61% made a purchasing decision based on a verbal recommendation. Traditional advertisements came in with a lower 49%. How can online video advertisers leverage this new data?

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