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How viral marketing could work for you


How viral marketing could work for you


The importance of video to any successful online campaign continues to grow but still a number of campaigns are still not being fully used for either marketing or SEO campaigns. Video has jumped in importance for marketing as the recent announcement by the Rudd government that it will be launching a $43 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) across Australia.

At the recent SMX Sydney conference, Jason West from Websalad combined the topics of video optimisation and how business can benefit. His topic was more technical in nature but touched on the important points that business seems to be missing each time. What is the purpose of your video campaign, is it information, viral or just on the bandwagon?

The other important question needing to be answered is how will success be measured? For hosted video solutions YouTube offers YouTube Insight, and for a paid solution there is Brightcove. For web analytics solutions on your site the three main solutions are: Omniture ActionSource, Google Analytics Event Tracking, and WebTrends Video Tracking.

It is important that business understands the break between a YouTube video going viral and adding videos as part of your SEO strategy. YouTube allows for massive exposure with West outlining that video search is currently around 25% of all Google traffic within USA. So if your business is looking to expose your video to as many people as possible YouTube is the perfect platform as the world’s leading video portal.

If you are adding videos to increase the level of quality content on your site to help your SEO strategy, YouTube restricts this. You can get a large increase in traffic to your website as part of a successfully YouTube campaign but it is not always as valuable to support your SEO strategy.

I have examined some recent successful video campaigns and what elements made them successful, where they could have improved and what was the result.

1) Bike Hero

This video was uploaded November 2008 by madflux, and showed a shaky video of a guy on a bike recreating the experience of video game Guitar Hero. The video was a reasonable hit on YouTube with over 1.7 million views. The video was discovered to have been created by Droga5 with CGI assistance with the permission of Activision. While this was not a true viral campaign it did generate substantial buzz across niche gaming blogs, newspapers and across YouTube.


The video was successful as it engaged the target market for the product, the aspect of transparency could have been improved and not all coverage was positive. The result was a great secondary SEO benefit for Guitar Hero supported by the blogs, newspapers and anyone that linked to their product or company when talking about the story.

2) Still Free

This video was uploaded in 2006, but was supported by a campaign site that was promoted during the video showing the website stillfree.com.  The clip shows two people breaking into Andrew’s Airforce Base, scaling the fence and then sneaking onto the tarmac to tag Air Force One with the slogan Still Free.  This video was successful because it matched perfectly with the Ecko’s brand and their audience.

View the clip at the end of this article.


The video was successful because it built a site dedicated to track viewers engagement, it cant have been much more successful as AirForce 1 tagged Still Free, it was featured in over 7,000 news stories around the world, three official denials from the Pentagon and the video had in excess of 14 million views across the world.

3) Numa Numa

This is one of the newest videos to be launched onto your tube by Geico, so is not the best to review but its interesting that it is not branded or feature a call to action. This is a video that is design for the viral market that cannot be immediately dismissed by consumers as a great ad.


According to AdAge it has been showed around 442,653 times since going live last week. It would have been useful to have a teaser website attached to the video campaign.

4) Dance

This is one the most engaging and more expensive of the recent viral campaigns. It was designed around T-mobile campaign Life’s for Sharing. The clip involves a ordinary day at Liverpool station which bursts into a spontaneous dance routine that grows and grows with more dancers joining at each new song. The great thing about this clip is that it captures the moments when those watching shares in the fun with a small dance and a smile of appreciation. It also shows a number of people from the public using their mobiles to record the event to share with friends and family who are not there.


With a clear advertising message at the end of the video and an overlaid advertisement throughout the whole clip – its transparent about its purpose. This is clearly not an underground viral video, but it is such a great feel good video that people just want to share it with friends that promotes the good will of the brand and reinforces T-mobile and sharing.

The clip has been viewed close to 18 million times and T-mobile has a branded YouTube channel to support the campaign. From the viewer numbers it would appear that this was a successful campaign, also with a number of news, blogs and media sites covering the story. Its great exposure for the T-mobile campaign and has had no negative press to my knowledge.

5) Eye Brow Dance

This new clip from Cadbury takes their tagline A Glass and a Half and takes a new spin to match the theme of the video A Glass and a Half Full of Joy. The video is set to uplifting and positive music showing two unsupervised kids playing along in front of the camera moving their eyebrows to the rhythm of the music.


This campaign is interesting and might be more interesting to particular sets of demographics such as those featured or those who have kids of similar age. It does give Cadbury an opportunity to refresh their brand or test alternative uses for A Glass and a Half. There doesn’t seem to be any campaign site that is leveraged off this video such as a user generated content site where others can replicate the video so that is one area of weakness.

6) Extreme Sheep Herding

This video was launched around three weeks ago on YouTube and is a low key demonstration about Samsung LED lights. The interesting thing about this video is that the product demonstration is just a small part of the whole clip, but again is a light hearted video that includes a 1980s video game reference.


Currently around six million people have viewed the main video, and news companies have picked up on the trend and are now starting to show the clip on cable and free to air networks. The site could have benefited from a branded YouTube channel but does have a cheeky pitch for Samsung LED products and finishes call to action and a URL www.samsung.com/led.


So, the wrap up is that these successful viral campaigns, had search optimisation as a secondary campaign aim, but because many of these video were so successful it is likely they actually have got more benefit using the YouTube platform. The other important point is that all these successful videos were only two to three minutes. If you have a long video make a short sample version and have the full length version as a choice. Remember that hosting video on your server can be very expensive and needs to be considered as to why limit your audience if you can get such exposure?

David Iwanow

With over six years digital marketing experience consulting to Australia's biggest companies and marketing agencies, you can now find David working as a SEO Product Manager at Marktplaats.nl

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