AFS and Viral Campaigns

AFS Viral view
Our primary goal is to make the viral video/material so good that consumers or potential consumers are driven to ‘share it, promote it, discuss it or hunt it down’ – all of which generates voluntary viewings – as opposed to the forced, paid viewings that are generated when a brand advertises on TV. Each client proposal is individually tailed to the organisation and its needs. The key to our success will be the use the latest testing and survey technique before finalising and refining the video and other virals. Using these techniques we can modify the virals until the required audience viewing figures match the predictions (with good statistical correlation).

Successful viral campaign
A successful viral marketing strategy depends on a high pass-along rate from person to person. If a large percentage of recipients forward something to a large number of friends, the overall growth snowballs very quickly – the buzz factor. If the pass-along numbers get too low, the overall growth quickly fizzles out. What is wanted is the potential for exponential growth in the message's exposure and influence. Initial scale seeding can be important.

Conditions for success
There are four proven drivers for success and one initial seed condition that AFS has identified as necessary conditions for the achievement of online viral volume:

  1. Creative drivers such as enjoyment and involvement.
  2. Distinctiveness - the phenomenal success of unusual videos is evidence:
    Old Spice: ‘Man your man could smell like’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owGykVbfgUE
    Evian’s ‘Roller babies’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQcVllWpwGs
  3. US evidence and analysis shows that the use of celebrities can help viral viewing volume. If this is not possible we can still plan a successful campaign. Note some celebrity AA members might be persuaded to help in a cameo appearance.
  4. The ‘likelihood to forward’ index can positively predict/achieve online viral viewing volume. If consumers particularly like an online advert, they can ‘vote with their mouse’ by forwarding it to others. This is not however the only way which viral videos may travel. But consumer willingness to forward indicates that the viral material has the attribute of generating ‘buzz’. This attribute can be identified and quantified in tests.
  5. Initial scale seeding can be important: the scale of initial seeding can determine the size of the viral audience - initial scale of seeding acts as a multiplier on the degree to which people are willing to pass an ad on to others (see page 4 and footnote 8).

There is one factor which does not affect viral volume: high interest categories or brands do not make for high viral viewing.
So branded awareness, distinctiveness, celebrity presence and claimed likelihood to forward explain more than 70% of successful viral video campaigns. Before going live with any campaign we would use the now standard Millard Brown Link testing and survey systems (and others) to pre-test, test and survey in order to meet the required predicted viewer volume and to make changes and fine-tune the viral materials to maximise audience volumes and/ or meet required AA targets.

Luck is still an element. So we will not rely solely on the tests and predictions.