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Too much of a good thing

August 01, 2006

Over the last few years, viral videos have exploded in popularity with advocacy groups and marketers. Numerous case studies have shown that viral videos are an effective vehicle to communicate a message to a wide audience very cheaply. But, an article in Businessweek points out that the novelty of viral videos is beginning to wear off.

Many marketers have been willing to experiment with viral videos. They felt that the small investment of $10,000 – 20,000 to create the video is worth the reward of reaching an audience in the hundreds of thousands. Normally, in order to reach an audience of that size, marketers must spend a significant amount of money thereby reducing their advertising budget.

However, the influx of marketing agencies in the viral video arena makes it more difficult for non-profit and advocacy groups to develop successful viral videos. While many marketers are able to spend much more money to create a polished ad, they increasingly tend to use focus group and polling to fashion their messages. This process can really take the edge off what makes viral videos so appealing to consumers because polling and focus groups only give an organization part of the story.

Conversely, non-profits and advocacy organizations will be more successful because they spend time developing creative content that engages their audience. These types of groups are less likely to rely on polling and focus groups this because they already have a strong understanding of their members.

The lesson? Only by engaging and listening to your members can you truly understand what will motivate them to act. As long as you do this, viral videos can still be an effective tactic in reaching your message. You now have less room for error because so many other organizations are now using this tactic.

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