What makes a successful viral marketing campaign? Why do some marketing pieces go viral and others do not? How can you make sure your own campaigns perform well?
These are all very common questions regarding viral marketing. And there are no easy answers to any of them. It’s easy to look at successful campaigns and say, “Oh, well that campaign was successful because…” However, what made that campaign work might not necessarily work for a similar campaign.
The thing about viral marketing is that you can never fully predict how people will react to something. You can spend thousands of dollars on market research and still not have a truly accurate picture of how people will react to a live campaign in the real world.
The truth is that even multi-million dollar marketing agencies don’t always get it right. In reality, most viral campaigns never actually go viral at all. They are created for that purpose, but they don’t work.
All you can do is create a campaign that has a good chance to go viral. There are no guarantees!
So what typically makes a good viral campaign?
Humor – Many successful viral campaigns contain an element of humor, often revolving around it.
Shock Value – Many successful campaigns have some shocking or outrageous elements.
Uniqueness – For a campaign to go viral, it usually has to be something people haven’t seen before.
Value – Sometimes simply offering a truly outrageous deal such as something good for free or at a ridiculously low price is enough to get a campaign to go viral.
Sympathy – Many viral campaigns include an element of sympathy. For example, commercials for the ASPCA show cute animals that have been mistreated. People talk about these videos, because they are very emotional.
While these elements exist in most viral campaigns, they aren’t always enough to cause a campaign to generate buzz. Even when they do, they often don’t generate the level of buzz you’re hoping for.
There have been thousands of funny and unique television commercials that have come out in the last year or so, but only a handful of those are truly memorable enough to go viral.
It’s difficult to separate the successes from the failures, because at first glance they all seem to be similar. A funny commercial is a funny commercial, right? But it’s not that simple. Simply being funny is not enough to get people talking.
When you’re working on a viral campaign, one of the most important things you should realize is that there is no way to guarantee success with viral marketing. It’s just not possible. No matter what you do, you are helpless once the campaign is released. You’re at the mercy of the whims of the public.
Just understand that not every viral campaign will succeed. You should make sure to incorporate as many of the elements as you can, but in the end, the public will decide what it likes.
Don’t give up if you create a campaign that doesn’t go viral. Simply try again with a new campaign.