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August 22, 2007



All good points. I agree with Nigel's comment about pre-testing content. Too often, 'viral' ideas get baked and produced in a vacuum -- without a clear read on how viewers will react. Then all eyes turn to the PR agency to make the (less-than-compelling) video spread. I wrote about this a few months back:



I agree largely on your myths of viral video, but not entirely.

Viral video actually is a digital strategy, placing your video on YouTube is a digital strategy too -- You just need to know how to do it correctly that will create opportunity over time. You can't do that over a coffee at StarBucks or in the board room in a trendy office.

You speak directly to the value of the actual video content itself, not about how videos are picked up by search engines - which all and all is actually more important than the video itself unfortunately.

Most agencies don't really have an idea to how to leverage search engines to do the work for you, rather than relying on the creative only. Over the years, I've found that most interactive agencies (big and small) are great in talking up strategy, but fall well short on implementation tactics.

You are bound to fail if you think that simply throwing up a video on the net is going to take off on it's own. With all of the millions of videos out there, you need to know how your video is going to be identified in all of the search engines.

1 - blog about your videos and create links that the search engines will pick up

2 - pay attention to keywords, title descriptions, search terms - critical

3- build awareness via subscriptions, friends and comments, you'd be surprised how viral works over time

4- don't spend $100,000 on one video, instead spend $50,000 on 50 short and varied videos and build up your video inventory (links, links, links)

Our results on YouTube were terrible in the beginning, we didn't start to gain a foothold until we started working through the inner-workings of Youtube before our numbers started to increase.

With 900,000 total views on YouTube to date and 8000-10,000 views per day now, we are getting better results now than when we originally posted the videos months ago.

There are hundreds of video sharing sites you can post your videos to. Google spiders them all, make sure you have your search engine strategy in place and make sure to learn how each video sharing site works for optimization.

As a small startup, we don't have a big marketing budget but right now our main source of traffic is from video search engine traffic and clicks from our videos directly from the video sharing sites. To say that using video isn't a digital strategy is clearly wrong.

Many experts love to talk about the effectiveness of video (or lack of), but until you actually sit down and understand how aggressively search engines are seeking video content right now. People rarely understand how video content is seeded or the search engine value of creating such links, because there's little information on the web about it and for the people that do know they aren't about to share it.

I'll gladly take 10,000 views of our vids per day (we don't pay for bandwidth) and generate brand awareness for our little startup. My advice is to test, test, test and measure everything. I've learned more about internet marketing in the last nine months, than I have in the last 10 years.

Agency and industry experts have no clue what they are talking about when it comes to online video beyond their traditional broadcast knowledge based on TV and other marketing mediums. Even cutting-edge interactive things done 3 years ago, is really old news.

If you don't know how video is indexed by search engines as of right now and if you're not intimate with YouTube then you really don't know anything about how to get your videos seen (it has nothing to do with creative).

We expect our videos to continue to be seen thousands of times per day for months to come. Not bad for the $10,000 we spent to have 50 videos produced for us... (I guess most agencies don't want to throw around that number, I've heard the average viral video campaign is $50k-$250k in agency land.)

Online video is not print, it's not TV or radio - So you can't apply your working knowledge to this medium. I used to love ripping apart agency people when they came in exposing what they didn't know about online.

Google is the main driver behind volume, not the creative -- I wish agency people would stop talking about something that in all reality know little to nothing about.

Talk about strategy and creative is cheap, show me the results. So making wide sweeping claims about viral/online video is just.. well just plain silly.

Viral Videos

Great article. Also, great comment Lonelybloggers. Good to see both sides of things all in one place :)


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