I hate the use of the term ‘Viral’. Over the last 6 months or so, i have heard a lot of talk about viral video’s and viral marketing and on the large people have been getting it completely wrong.
I want to start this of really simple with the question, What is Viral Marketing, for the answer and to give the definition a little more credibility i asked my friend at Marketing Chatter who defined it as
Viral Marketing – A marketing message which spreads unaided from person to person either online or offline.
The reason im doing this is because i find people banding the term viral around and they are either using it out of context or they are referring to something as viral when it isn’t. There are also lots of companies popping up now and they will produce and provide ‘viral media’.
I can provide you with a viral video
My response to this is, no, you can provide me with a video or some media, it’s not viral until it has gone viral!
My Tweet went viral
It’s a possibility but a few people re tweeting doesn’t make it viral, even if it gets re tweeted by 100 people it doesn’t make it viral.
Example of Viral Marketing
Moonfruit – A while ago, the moonfruit website ran a competition, all you had to do to enter was to follow and retweet the moonfruit tweet, This went viral, there was a phenomenal response on twitter with moonfruit trending for a very long time, it made online news on marketing websites and blogs and it got a lot of people talking about it. Mashable covered the competition on how to successfully run a twitter competition. The competition and its response was analysed by people and documents were produced and published on slideshare with one website claiming moonfruit accounted for 2.5% of twitter traffic after day two. It had people talking about it through word of mouth. The competition became much more than a simple twitter competition because in transitioned from twitter to blogs and right across the internet and then into evey day talk, within the space of a few days, the brand awareness of moonfruit went from being relatively small to extremely large, although i do feel the brand awareness was overly inflated as if you ask now, people remember the competition but don’t always remember the brand that ran it.
Regardless of weather people remember the brand now, it was a twitter competition that went viral, it didn’t start off viral, it became viral!
If you are looking for a viral campaign then you need to be careful, what does the person selling you the campaign class as viral, you’re not buying a viral campaign, your buying a campaign that you’re hoping to go viral. What methods does the person offering the campaign use to monitor it? Think! If the viral campaign works then you shouldn’t need any monitoring tools because you will be able to see, hear and read about what you have done all over the internet.
Looking at the amount of marketing campaigns that are running at any one point in time, very very few of them truly go ‘Viral’. I feel people use the term far to loosely so if you are buying into a viral marketing campaign, remember nobody can guarantee a campaign will go viral and the likelihood it will is very very small.
What are your thoughts?