Viral Marketing, how online videos are replacing TV ads

6 Jun, 2013

This is a guest post by Alaili Abdallah he is the founder and CEO of advertising company MediaO2, and the founder of To viral: a viral marketing & consultancy service, he blogs here and tweets @alaili1.

A 100 years ago, John Wanamaker a marketing pioneer, whom many consider as the father of modern advertising, used to say: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”.
In modern days it would be more accurate to say: more than 9/10 of the money spent on advertising is wasted!
Indeed, since the days of Wanamaker, people gradually lost the curiosity to know what is in the advertising mediums (whether it is printed, online or on TV), that’s why advertising companies had to innovate and impress in-order to retain the attention of the end viewers.

People nowadays have a tendency to ignore advertisement in all its forms, if you are distributing flyers for your business, I can assure you that more than half the flyers distributed will be in the nearest garbage can from the distribution point, the remaining will be in the next one!
Even my 4 year old kid closes or skips the overlaying ads on the Youtube videos!

Advertising companies and Brands have realized that they have only few seconds to grab the attention of their target audience, whether it is printed ads, tv ads or online ads.

But a new advertising format, shuttered the concept that ads needs to be interruption, allowing the brands to retain the full attention of the potential customers, this new format is the viral video ad, the viral video is the heart and soul of viral marketing, and even though it shares a lot with standard TV commercials, many more characteristics differentiate it from TV ads.

For commercial advertisements on television, the clients are paying according to the number of viewers that are expected to be watching the tv channel at a specific time (when the ad spot will be aired). The best case scenario is that these few thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of viewers will notice the ad when it is aired … in reality half will be away when the commercials starts (kitchen, bathroom, feeding the cat …) and most of those who sit through commercials activate their zombie mode.

On the other hand, for viral videos, the clients are paying for the consulting, production and initial viral seeding, the consulting and production is basically a little bit different from the production of a tv ad spot, but that’s where similarities stop.
Unlike TV ads, people actually enjoy watching the viral videos, thus they share them through social media, something that is not done with TV ads!
Because a Viral ad is watched by choice, it creates engagement and buzz around it, the brand or companies advertising have direct results which can be observed on the company online presence by an increase of fan base, subscribers, followers and sales (if the products can be bought online).

That’s why, viral videos are seen as the ultimate advertising solution! You pay once to produce & launch the video, and then not only the video reaches the viewers for a fraction of the cost, but also it never stops reaching more and more people, basically it is the “Perpetual Motion” of advertising.

viral video ads

I expect you would ask, if Viral video advertising was such a great way to advertise why it haven’t taken completely over TV ads so far?

Many big brands have started spending on viral marketing, and more specifically viral video marketing, but indeed few obstacles are still limiting the growth of this branch of advertising:
1 – It’s a relatively new branch, let’s not forget that online videos started to be accessible to the masses only 8 years ago!
2 – The vast majority of advertising agencies and production studios do not really understand what viral marketing is, and those who do understand it have no idea how to get it done.
3 – Very few experts in this advertising branch, during my 6+ years working in the viral videos domain, i have seen many so called experts, who thought that applying the standard marketing techniques on a video is what makes it go viral, these false expert represent more than 99% of the so called viral marketing experts today! Any expert or company that would reply “no one can guarantee if a video will go viral” do not know how to make viral video go viral!

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