The Benefits of a Successful Viral Campaign and How to Achieve One

Going viral is a term mentioned in political news, the entertainment world, and marketing campaigns. When the content of a video, photograph or other advertisement goes viral it basically means that it has reached the masses through a vast network of people in a very short amount of time. We’ve all received emails, tweets or Facebook messages from friends telling us to check out some video or another, this is exactly the same thing we want to create for our business – something so great, funny, etc. that people will want to share it. Sounds easy right? Think again!

Below is a brief list of some more successful viral campaigns and a few tips on mastering the art of going viral. Remember, trial and error is a great way to start. You never know what will appeal to the masses, so be sure to through many options out there and above all, be creative!

3 Examples of Successful Viral Campaigns

1. Dove Evolution
One of the first truly successful viral campaigns was Dove’s Evolution. Evolution was a short video featuring a woman of average beauty as she was transformed by hair, makeup, lighting, photography and photo editing. Dove was pushing the idea of natural beauty and it worked. Although the advertisement was shown as a television commercial in a very limited setting, it was an Internet sensation. Almost as soon as the video was placed online people were watching it around the world. This one video is reported to have earned Dove millions. Clearly this campaign worked on an emotional level since it appealed to the average American woman and by sharing this video with others, women felt empowered – therefore, this viral commercial became a real success.

2. Old Spice
In 2010 Old Spice injected some life into the veins of its famous, but tired, brand. The brand introduced a character to the masses during a Super Bowl commercial. The Old Spice man became a hit. A few months later, Old Spice used Twitter to invite customers online to watch another video featuring their character. This interactive and personal experience by the company using social media tools and their product website was incredibly effective. The Old Spice man commercials are some of the most popular YouTube videos. This is just one example of how humor can be a great way to get a viral sensation.

3. Justin Bieber
Sometimes viral marketing doesn’t just promote a product, it creates one. Several years ago pop sensation Justin Bieber was discovered on YouTube. His homemade video had gone viral and someone recognized the power of a product that already existed in the online marketing world. Bieber’s singing career has soared and his camp continues to market him as a brand using the social media platforms he came from.

Successful online viral campaigns are very difficult to achieve. This is partly due to the fact that they leave so much up to chance. However, there are a few steps you can take to place you on track for creating a profitable viral campaign.

One thing that both the Dove and Old Spice campaign had in common is that they cost money up front. It is beneficial to put some money into promoting a very powerful and thought provoking image upfront. This makes it more likely for you to reap the rewards down the line. Another benefit of the Old Spice campaign was its humor. People will share laughs with their friends and family. Old Spice was also smart to make their online campaign interactive by inviting customers to view their ad.

Justin Bieber is considered a “product” just as Dove and Old Spice are products. Sometimes it is beneficial to a company looking to master the art of going viral in the online world to use a viral product that already exists. Other companies, such as Geiko, have used established YouTube sensations to launch online marketing campaigns. These successes not only bring more awareness to the brand but also help conversion optimization efforts.

By studying successful viral campaigns of the past, you can learn how to create one to promote yourself or your product for the future. Don’t get discouraged, keep trying and be creative. This is one type of marketing campaign you can truly have fun with!

Elizabeth Murphy is a contributing writer for Invesp, a company which helps clients with their online marketing endeavors and also helps them create killer landing page design.

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