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When I first sit down with a new client to discuss what kind of video marketing strategy is best for them, the topic of viral videos often comes up. They want to know if a viral video can help their business. The answer: It depends.

What does going “viral” even mean?

Before we discuss if a viral video is the way to go, we must first understand exactly what a viral video is. Basically, it is a video that becomes popular due to internet sharing. Typically, these videos are often (but not exclusively) humorous in nature, and must receive at least 100,000 views.

What kind of business does viral video benefit?

This is the most important factor in determining  whether a viral video is the best strategy for them. For a multi-national brand, a viral video might be the perfect way to engage customers world wide. For a local Chinese restaurant, getting 10 million views might not mean a single new customer.

A viral video might work especially well for an online business, as it should significantly increase traffic to their website. Such an example can be seen from Blendtec’s genious “Will it Blend” series. Watch here as they see if an I phone will blend:

What does the video say?

Viral video can be a great way to reach millions of potential customers, but it is not necessarily the best way to communicate a specific message. With Blendtec, the message is clear: Blenders that can blend anything.

Unfortunately, most viral videos are not planned and do not have a specific message. In fact, a large number of viral videos are simply shocking or special moments caught on cellphone cameras.

If you are going to use viral video to market your brand, you need to make extra sure to get your message clear. You don’t want to spend valuable time and money on something that wont get your message across.

The Conclusion

There is obviously no accurate conclusion here. Viral video is an extremely effective way to reach millions of potential customers, but because so many businesses are geographically bound, unless most of that traffic came locally, it is effectively useless.

Local business¬† benefit most from local video marketing (profile of your business, customer testimonials etc…). International Brands and Online businesses are truly the only ones who CAN benefit from viral video.

Christopher Stasiuk

Chris Stasiuk

Author Chris Stasiuk

Chris is commercial director and founder of SVG, a Toronto based video content agency.

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