I have a confession to make.
I watched the “Oppa Gangnam Style” video. I have watched it not just once, but several times.
So I am partially responsible for the craze over Psy and Korean culture. I share the responsibility with the hundreds of millions all over the world who have watched the video. Before 2012 ended, the video had more than 1 billion views. That’s a lot.
Viral Videos and What They Can Do
In the world of the internet when something becomes suddenly popular it is said to be going “viral”. The most common examples are videos. YouTube, as one of the leading video sharing/social media sites, plays an important role in this trend. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can also help in driving the popularity of a video upwards and helping people from all over the world to become aware of the videos.
The use of the word viral suggests that the popularity of these videos is like viruses that can be transmitted from one person to another. In this case, knowledge about the video would be transmitted from one person to all of the people in the network. In the end everyone is infected.
How Videos Go Viral
The most common and effective way for a video to go viral is to be promoted through word of mouth. When people tell their friends about an amazing video, then a lot of people become interested in seeing it. The social networking sites are also doing an exceptional job when it comes to promoting videos. People can now share and post the links of videos that they like which others can then view.
The Power of Viral Videos
It goes without saying that videos which can be viewed by millions and millions of people all over the world can be very powerful marketing tools. They can spread awareness about a product or a company in a very effective and cost efficient way. In many ways, these videos can be more effective than running traditional ad campaigns.
Exact Ways of Measuring
One thing that these videos can do which cannot be achieved by other marketing means is to measure the number of views in an exact manner. That is something that can’t be done with print ads and even TV commercials. All that one can do is to run an estimate, which can never be accurate. Information like that would be invaluable in estimating the effectiveness of the marketing effort.
5 Minutes of Fame
Andy Warhol predicted that everyone in the future would be famous for 15 minutes. He’s probably talking about this period with all the viral video stars going around. The only thing that he got wrong is the length of fame. It’s not 15 minutes really, it’s more like 5 minutes and sometimes even less.
People know that having a viral hit under their belt could go a long way. That’s why everyone is trying all sorts of crazy stuff just to score a hit.