That’s a great question, and one I get quite a bit. We can go back and forth all day about “What Is” a viral video and “What Is Not”. The reality is that defining a viral video is not rocket science. We can test this threshold with a simple question. Has the video been shared in a wide spread way? And here is where the confusion resides.
Most people rate the viral video by how many views they video has obtained. And while not totally without merit, the old argument, quality vs. quantity, floats to surface once again. But lets put that aside for now and take a look at the pure facts.
Social media experts and digital strategist have many ways of marketing a video. Some of them are expensive and some are labor intensive. However, that being said, marketing does not = viral. If I had enough computers and the demographic I was marketing to had a large enough audience I could easily promote a video and get 100′s of thousands of views. But what does that mean?
“Viral” in this sense kind of means “a life of its own” and the answer to your question Stan is self answering once you understand this element. What video marketing experts are really good at is putting the fuel in the gas tank so to speak. We can use video marketing, social media and a myriad of other channels to “push your ship out to sea” if you will, but from there the message and the content have to motor your ship.
The confusion I get most from marketing managers and DOM’s alike is that they think they’ve come up with a really, totally, fantastic, awesome, unbelievable idea that is sure to go viral. And all they have to do is to make the video, put it on YouTube and… Voila! 99% of the time that is just not how it works. You have to get your message/video out there. You have to give it enough of a “push” to get it started. Think of a viral video as a self propelled lawn mower. Until you pull the cord, no grass is getting cut. With viral videos, until someone pulls that “cord” no views are coming and your message never gets out.
Now once you’ve got your motor started what your hoping is that the mower will keep going as you sit back and drink your margarita in the lawn chair. And this is another point of confusion. In video marketing often the ROI is so inexpensive and the ancillary benefits so big, think SEO, that continued video marketing is well worth the effort if the viral effect your seeking isn’t happening.
The point is Stan, that sometimes a great online marketing team can HELP a video go viral but they can never promise or guarantee that it will. What they can promise, with a good amount of certainty, is that they can get a substantial amount of views and hopefully start your engine.