Think of a “viral video” and what comes to mind is probably a YouTube clip like “Gangnam Style” with millions upon millions of views. But that’s not the only way to think about viral content, according to Boston-based video marketing firm ViralGains. “Viral” can also mean the difference between a hundred views and a thousand. In other words, everything is relative.
And so when ViralGains talks about helping clients market video content, they’re not just talking about swinging for the fences to create the next Old Spice ad; they’re talking about the art and science of maximizing social behavior.
“There’s no such thing as a formula for a viral video,” said ViralGains co-founder Jay Singh. “It just doesn’t exist.”
That’s where the art part comes in. Take Equal Exchange, a fair trade coffee company and a ViralGains customer. The company was posting videos that were receiving just a few dozen hits. ViralGains was able to take those hits and multiply them into thousands, simply by promoting the video within specific interest groups on social media. In Equal Exchange’s case, that meant advocates of fair trade.
“It’s a lot harder to share content with people who might be influential but not interested in the content than it is to share it with people who are already advocates of the brand,” Singh said. In other words, the trick is finding the right target audience.
But how is the value of all this measured? While measuring ROI for brand marketing is notoriously difficult, ViralGains offers a wide range of analytics to its customers, including conversion metrics, such as who’s subscribed to a YouTube channel. If a business can determine the value of a new subscriber, then ViralGains can help them track the value their videos are providing.
One of the next steps for ViralGains will be conquering the mobile market, which is an increasingly significant part of the video content ecosystem.
“That’s where the industry is going, and we do have some innovations to address the mobile market,” Singh said.
As they do so, it will be with the same approach that has driven their success so far: an insistence that “viral” means more social sharing and isn’t just about a handful of mega-hits. That definition is at the heart of what the company does, Singh told BostInno.
“Viral can often mean a billion views for some of these really big viral videos,” he said. “We had to really define that term.”