Between successful viral marketing campaigns and those that failed, lies a thin line of disbelief.
Can you execute a successful viral campaign?
Looking into the history of viral campaigns, one can actually answer this repeatedly asked question.
The First Successful Viral Campaign
The first viral campaign actually dates back to 1999, with a movie. Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez started a rumor about having stumbled upon amateur footage about three paranormal hunters found dead after going into the woods in search of the Blair Witch.
This was nothing other than the famous ‘Blair Witch Project’. Using innovative filming techniques and genius marketing, this movie was showcased to the entire world as actual found footage.
The marketing campaign of the ‘Blair Witch Project’ involved a website designed to convince viewers that the plot of the movie was a reality. Working around myths and legends of the Blair witch, Myrick and Sanchez posted many rumors on online groups.
What happened next was historical. The buzz around the movie was so huge that the movie made $250 million. The cost of making the film was lesser than $1 million. This constituted the world’s first successful viral campaign.
There were deliberate steps and measures taken in the Blair Witch Campaign. The entire mystery surrounding the myth of the Blair witch along with supposed found footage of three missing paranormal hunters helped execute the campaign to perfection. This shows a definitive method to executing a viral campaign. Taking the example of modern marketing campaigns as well, we will be able to tell you how to frame a successful viral campaign.
What Is Viral Marketing?
Viral marketing uses current social networks to promote a product or service. At its core, it is a simple business strategy.
The reason behind its viral nature is because the nature of the product or service causes consumers to promote it excessively. The nature of which can be compared to the spread of a virus.
The product in question can be anything at all. However, the content pertaining to the product should be compelling enough for people to share. A huge part of something going viral is the fact that it should stimulate mass interest and engagement.
The viral spread of the content in question can spread in a number of ways, like, word of mouth, email, web forums, social networking sites, and video sharing sites.
One of the primary elements of content marketing is content. The content has to be simple, relatable, and engaging. Over the years different types of content have gone viral. For example, “Dumb ways to die”, an animated music video by the Australian Metro. This song which was meant to promote safety and awareness around trains, went viral on Youtube. Similarly, the ALS ice bucket challenge went viral when celebrities from around the globe started participating in the challenge. This helped the ALS organization raise over 115 million dollars in donations.
The Kinds of Viral Campaigns
A viral marketing campaign may be an aspect of a campaign or a stand-alone campaign by itself. The reason why viral marketing is given so much importance is due to the fact that they are cheap.
Something going viral generally involves mass sharing owing to the popularity of a piece of content. This does not involve a lot of money. Companies do execute viral campaigns on branded content or advertising content.
There are generally two types of marketing that are used by brands. The first type generally informs the audience about the content being branded and specifically showcased to be advertised.
The second is referred to as ‘concealed marketing’, where the audience is unaware of the fact that the content is being advertised. Generally, we would always tell you to be transparent with your audience.
As mentioned earlier, viral marketing may be implemented as a part of a marketing campaign. For example, with regard to the Blair Witch Project, the campaign surrounding the movie helped build up the hype. The commercials, trailers, posters all helped in making the campaign a success.
Another example is Burger King’s ‘Subservient Chicken’ campaign. In order to promote its Tendercrispy sandwich, burger king launched a website that showcased the subservient chicken.
It was nothing more than a person in a chicken costume following commands given by visitors. This interactive gimmick went viral. In the first week itself, this website got over 15 million visits. People spent over 6 minutes interacting with the subservient chicken.
How To Successfully Execute A Viral Marketing Campaign?
The most important aspect of a viral marketing campaign is the audience or demographic. Your campaign can only be a success if it is targeted towards the right audience.
In the case of the Blair witch campaign, the target demographic included teens and young adults. Every single aspect of the campaign was focused on this particular demographic and needless to say the results were amazing.
Having chalked out the right demographic, the only thing to keep in mind is the fact that viral marketing is a continual process. It requires adjustments and modifications. Any company in charge of a viral marketing campaign should not simply let the campaign run its course without implementing any changes.
What Do You Need For A Viral Campaign?
The right digital marketing agency can help you execute a successful viral marketing campaign. There needs to be a thorough understanding of your brand with regard to the campaign in question. The right content for the campaign and lastly an understanding of the demographic which fits the campaign.
All of these aspects need to come together to execute a successful viral marketing campaign. We at ATOP Digital have a thorough and in-depth insight into all our clients. Our stellar team can get every aspect sorted to execute an effective viral campaign. Contact us today regarding all your digital marketing needs.