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December 8, 2014

How to launch a Video on YouTube – LIVE Blogging

A few weeks back I got a request in my inbox that asked if I could help out with a launch of a video on YouTube. Unlike other requests that I receive most of the time, this one was from a person who wasn’t looking to beat the system. He just wanted help with the release of his first single on YouTube.

I read his story and decided to take a call.

On the other end of the phone was Pierre. In his car, with his parents. The first call took about 15 minutes. We talked, I ran through the broad strokes of what a launch on YouTube is about, we laughed, and I guess, decided there and then that we were going to work together.

Another difference from other assignments I take on, was that I decided to do this one out of the fun of it. It felt good, taking on an assignment that I felt like doing. It was evident that Pierre loved what he was doing, something I sometimes forget, when working for big brands who just want the next viral hit. He got to me.

And since he did, I have decided that this launch will be completely different, 100% transparent and just like the project itself – for the mere fun of it!

Thus. I have decided to make this the worlds first ever public launch of a YouTube viral.

This is a huge risk as most of my work is usually being done behind closed doors. I don’t know if it works when in the light of day. But I know that we will do it for real this time around, and thus, we have no reason to stay in the backrooms of Internet tactics.

So. For all that it is worth. Here we go! (I will explain all the steps as I get time. Also, we’ll soon launch a live stream on Ustream to answer any questions.)

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

LIVE UPDATES:

07:30 Swedish Time – 30 views – Start TrueView spend (50USD) in Asia

07:35 Swedish Time – 31 views – Contact first influentials in Asian countries

07:36 Swedish Time – 32 views – Begin contacting Facebook pages managed by community managers in Asia

08:30 Swedish Time – 104 views – Curve is looking upwards – moving over to Twitter

09:30 Swedish Time – 200 views – Moving back to Facebook to contact groups and talk to responders

09:40 Swedish Time – 301 views – YouTube view count delay in action

10:45 Swedish Time – we now have a projected view count of 3500 views the last 60 minutes – we now start contacting YouTube influentials

REFLECTION

This is going quite well. The numbers are small, but we are just in the early stages. This is not one of those crazy seeding sprees where we have a budget. Total launch budget this time is 200 USD meaning we have to rely on copywriting, relevance and digging into demand and where it is at. Most of what has happened so far is that we’ve been in touch with a lot of people who might like the video. Now that the public increase in view count has been halted by YouTube we have to continue seeding the video below the surface. Once our vanity metrics become visible again we can push for broader media.

11:13 Swedish Time – 11 251 views (according to real time analytics) – Updating social accounts to take on new traffic

11:56 Swedish Time – 14 753 views (estimated by real time analytics) – Now setting up live stream on Ustream

12:00 Swedish Time – LUNCH

13:14 Swedish Time – Back from lunch Up on Ustream

13:45 Swedish Time – Our Usteam went down so we are setting it up again. Back in about 5 minutes.

13:45 Swedish Time – We are soon looking to move onto the Twitter promotion. The views are slowly coming through to the public view and so we can start moving onto introducing the video to more people

14:01 Swedish Time – We have relaunched our Facebook Page promotion contacting pages that might be interested to use the video as content for their followers

REFLECTION

So far it is actually going a bit better than expected but we still have to work for every view. It is not that it picks up on its own. We believe that the critical mass will be in the vicinity of 20-25 000 views considering the number of comments and shares we’ve received so far. We are now sure we will be able to manually work this up to over 100k views which would be pretty decent considering our budget, but we feel like this song has so much more potential, so we will most likely continue to press it. Remember, we haven’t even begun with pitching stories about the story… except for perhaps… this one 😉

14:23 Swedish Time – Ustream is back up and we’re moving onto better things to do – Facebook PAGES and Tweeps!! Don’t hesitate to help us out here. Either by commenting on the Ustream stream or by simply helping us get this out on twitter. You can also help us pitch this to Mashable by retweeting this tweet.

14:45 Swedish Time – We have now moved onto setting up the Twitter activities for the US. Started to write messages and prepare our first press contacts.

15:20 Swedish Time – We just had our first viewers and shares of the video from Mexico – meaning the world across the Atlantic has woke up

16:38 Swedish Time – Ok so now I got back from some meetings and it is time to start with the outbound Twitter work 😀 tihi….

16:45 Swedish Time – Told the people in the US to start working on their contacts.

17:13 Swedish Time – So. Now we are back on Facebook sourcing pages that seem to be updating regularly and where the content might be inline with our video. This whole live blogging, live feeding, live live live is making me a bit nuts though… haha…

REFLECTION

Without the artificial seeding in the beginning of a project, it goes so much slower as we do not have the natural “reason to speak” we usually do when we have a lot of views of the bat to come running with. However, pace is picking up again. Would be wonderful if the YouTube analytics would be more advanced so we could pick up more of the stuff happening there. We know that some people has embedded the video, but without using the nasty crawlers we cannot find them right away. I think this is a healthy experience considering how simple this is to do with the cheats :). If you feel like helping us out doing this the right way, meaning if you like the video, if you like the story in the description and if you feel like this is a fun thing to do. Look below for some tasks!

18:00 Swedish Time – Just completed the Facebook round for the pages we believe might be interested. Now we just wait 24 hours before we send them a friendly reminder ;). Also, the guys over in the US have started working for real and we should be seeing some results coming up in short. We now see a steady stream of new viewers coming in without us actually seeding that heavily. A few minutes ago there was a bump but just about every other second we are getting a new view. This is nice and perhaps a signal that we will not have to work that much more before it starts carrying itself.

18:12 Swedish Time – We can now see that the video is picking up pace. It has gone from an average of about 0.3 views per minute to 2.1 views per minute as the baseline. We are going to keep an eye on this and see if this is a trend or if it just a result of some link slowly building somewhere. Either or, this is fun as we discount the spikes when we look at this metric – which is in essence the only “go to sleep”-metric we can look at. Once that picks up pace, the work is done and the video has its own life.

18:43 Swedish Time – The organic view count on YouTube is picking up pace and we are now at about 3 views per minute. As you understand this is still REALLY low, but this is without any spikes and the growth has been constant now for a few hours. Hopefully we will see a steady growth over the evening with a few more spikes.

REFLECTION

So. A quick wrap up. We started the day with some TureView purchases of about 50 USD. We then went on to contact people we knew over in south east Asia, then we started contacting some big Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. After that it has been a long day of writing up stories and contacting people. And that is essentially what we have done. As more info gets in, we will be able to give you more information as to where the traffic came from. Especially those sources that are now picking up pace.

00:30 Swedish Time – Got a message from Pierre with a link to Toronto Star writing about his video. One of their “satire” writers wrote about the video. We contacted the author and apologised for our somewhat brute “hello message”. Ha ha… why is it always the shortest, most spammy of our messages that get through ;). Got a really cool answer back. Cudos to them for having both humor and the professionalism to deal with people like us 😀

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October 23, 2014

The Index – The most important piece of content I have written, only a few people will ever read

This post is most likely the most important one I have written, next to “The web is a Liquid“, “The 5 Cs of Viral Marketing” and “Quantum SEO – A shift from Einstein Relativity“. The past two years have been highly disruptive for online marketing, with the introduction of preference, personalisation and sentiment into the algorithms that govern the online world. Here I choose to call the “it” controlling all of it, The Index. Yes. It is a bit foil hat flirting, however, this is the new framework I will be working with, in order to reach results that will make people look like children on christmas. Enjoy! It will probably take you 30 minutes to an hour to read.

Where the connections started in my head

This summer I was fortunate enough to work with a client who wanted their sponsorship of a live event, be shared in digital media to a greater extent than before. The ROI was essentially reach and brand association with the event.

Well enough.

For some time I had been developing this theory that the messaging apps and p2p sharing of stickers etc was a real threat to brands visibility. However, I saw opportunity in the growth of Whatsapp, LINE, WeChat and the other big players.

What if, we instead of focusing on digital stuff to get reach in a digital world, started to convert people to believers in the real world and simply used the digital space for amplification?

This question grew in me during spring 2014 and I decided to implement some of those ideas on this event. In other words. I decided to turn the world into a website.

Turning the world into a website

The idea builds on using the same kind of conversion ideas as you do on a website, but onto the real world. This means you have to understand your users motivation, give a valid value proposition and limit the offer with an incentive to do it now. It means you have to lower the perceived friction and most of all, you have to remove any anxiety that the user might have.

In plain context of an event, this means creating a spot in the ground, or hanging a frame on the wall, which gives people a perfect reason to take photographs there. You call it a selfie spot, and anyone who passes, will get a perfect excause to take a selfie.

Just as you would with a signup to a newsletter on a website. You simply apply the theory that there is traffic, and then use whatever you know about the visitor in order to make them convert.

And converting is not about the big things. Just as it is fewer people who buy the Porche, then there is people sharing photos with themselves next to a Porche. No. Conversion happens when you end up in line with the visitors user journey, and somehow use your knowledge of their existence, being and needs, to enhance that user journey.

In terms of a festival for youth. This meant giving them a non-embarrassing way to take photos of themselves, telling the world that they were there. YES, they would have done this otherwise as well, however, they wouldn’t have used our props, our branding and our messaging if we wouldn’t have insterted our small little things into their path, which enhanced it.

Thus. Turning the world into a website, is creating conversion points along the users journey from a to b, giving them a reason to convert into whatever you feel you want to convert them too.

In this video you can hear me elaborate on this theory.

What did I learn from my experiment

Well. I learnt that it worked. In total, over the few days we were there, there were just under 120 000 people visiting the festival. From these 120 000 people we got a digital reach of at least 1.5 million people with an interaction on the posts being shared of approximately 5%.

Put into context, this amounted to about 11% of ALL photos, blog posts and shares being posted onto public forums and social platforms etc. So I believe it was a great test which can be optimized for even greater spread.

However. The result was not my greatest learning. The greatest learning came from the fact that we reached 10x of the initial traffic. I started to think. What the heck. When did I last receive a 10x reach on an input in a digital context?

We could see from the trackers that my prophecy of the instant messaging, wasn’t really true yet. However, something else was there.

A few days ago, everything fell into place for me. I started drawing, and I realised that it is not so much that we turned the world into a website, which got us the results. The results came from us being able to break outside The Index.

What is The Index

Since 1998 I have been working in digital media in one way or another. First as a quite crappy developer, then as a manager, then as a “strategist” and finally ended up where I should have been from the beginning – in the realms of tactics. Meaning, trying to figure out how things really work, and then use that knowledge to my advantage when implementing whatever it is that I have as the assignment in front of me.

The idea of the index stems from the notion that there is just so much content out there, that we need a sorting mechanism to surface what is important to us.

Back in the days of non-digital, this sorting was done by an editor at a newspaper. Today, in the digital context, this is done by algorithms. Google killed Altavista when they invented the algorithm based on PageRank, Facebook killed their opposition when they invented the EdgeRank, YouTube killed their competition… well, by using some broken form of index that is yet to be fixed, but they are the place to be, cause no one does it better than them.

Thus, The Index is used to sort information to us, so that we can live on with our happy lives without having to dig into too much shit in order to find the gold. From our perspective.

The Index Evolution

At first. The Index operates freely. It has transparent rules and those who know how these rules are applied, can easily “hack” the index and make a fortune out of it.

This was the case with Googles PageRank, and the case with Facebooks EdgeRank, AND with YouTubes version of PageRank as well.

However, after a while, as the abuse of the index becomes a problem for delivery, or for the authority of the platform, the businesses governing The Index makes it less transparent, more complicated and a lot less easy to decipher from a traditional perspective. Its purpose moves from bringing all the right content in, into holding the wrong content out.

Thus, the evolution of The Index, works very much like a early stage organization, where everyone is welcome at first. As popularity grows, you start getting goofy people gaining traction within the organization, which threatens its existence. This leads to a period of exclusion, where the evolutionary organization survives at it bullies out the people who are not “representative” of the groups social rules.

In terms of Google, this meant that they started excluding content, they found were abusive to their system. Meaning, anyone who had turned on The Index, by trying to cheat it, in order to get their content out on top of it, started getting excluded.

The world of SEOs shrinked as the simple tactics to reach visibility dissipated and were replaced with more complex means of ranking in the search.

The Introduction of the Sentiment

If the story would have ended there, I wouldn’t have given this more thought. The Index would have simply been a question of content delivery to the world, giving Google, and its index a serious power-position in world affairs. From business to politics, to every day life and decisions.

However, the story doesn’t end here.

As Facebook entered the market and brought their Like button along. All major players in The Index started to play around with sentiment. This meant that The Index started learning what to deliver, not to the world, but to each and everyone of us – individually.

The Index and its algorithms were updated to meet the preference of the receiver, and not any anonymous target group.

Google already had the early child of this, with their link algorithm, however, most consumers don’t link, and so they had to find their own signals in order to deliver the most important and preferable content to each and every single user.

Thus sentiment made the internet, and The Index all about pleasing me. The more it managed to please me, the more I would use it, as friction and anxiety would be extremely low, considering I only received opinions, products, ideas and other types of content, which I agree with.

The Business model of The Index

This leads me to the next part of this, which is about sustainable business models in the world of The Index.

Early indexes are immature. Almost gullible like a child. They are easy to fool and to toy around with. They trust you, and as marketers, growth hackers, and tactics players, we abuse that trust in order to get our points across.

Thus, the business model of an early version of The Index, lies in the hands of those outside the controlling the index. In terms of Google, this meant the SEOs, and in terms of Facebook, this meant the “Social Media experts”.

As content aggregates and The Index does its best to keep the trickery out, the balance of power shifts, and the opportunity for quick wins dissipate from the hands of the hacker and ends up in the hands of The Index controller.

As their power grows, advertising costs on the platform increase as more and more brands, people and other types of players (mainly other algorithms), compete for visibility. As personal preference algorithms become more and more skilled at content delivery, the more brands have to pay, in order to keep up the pace with the stuff that people really care about.

I mean, why should I care about a new detergent, when my sister in law uses one that she recommended for this specific type of spot. Why should I buy that dress, when my favourite blogger wrote I should buy another.

Whether we receive the content, effecting our behaviour, through The Index operating on Google, or when it operates the Social graph on Facebook. The Index is now in control, and it is giving the user exactly what he or she wants.

Anyone who wants to enter this world, without agreeing with the user, will have to pay the price.

 

The backside of The Index

This doesn’t come without cost. The Index controller of an early stage index is generally a human being. However, as content grows, the power and the real controller of The Index becomes the algorithm.

In fact. Humans go from controlling an index, to being an obedient servant of The Index.

There is simply no chance in hell, that a human can be as fast as an algorithm in determining what content best suits a single person. Thus it is also the fact that whoever designs an algorithm that can solve the preference ideals of a user, the fastest, will be the winner in the end. And so, the algorithms, although designed by humans, become self beings with the control over what we see, learn and believe.

This might sound a bit like a foil hat reasoning. However, you simply need to look at the algorithms controlling the financial markets, to understand that this is exactly what happens as content grows, transactions between users grow, and development of ranking derivatives gets better.

Another issue with the sentiment based index, delivering high usability and that is built with “the end user in mind”, is that it is information bias. Thus, it confirms and reconfirms peoples opinions that they already have, rather than help us find greater understanding in other perspectives. In a sense, the only one knowing the full scale of things, is The Index itself, as we as humans, groups etc, only see, know and believe what is confirmed by the information we see.

This is a huge challenge for us right now, as the digital open social platforms become increasingly governed by algorithms based on sentiment.

For a person with good intentions, wanting to bring peace to the earth, this development will only reconfirm his or her position and commitment to do this. However, it might also remove a bit of his or her incentive to do something about these beliefs considering the person only gets to see information which is filtered by The Index.

And, contrary, when you have a major belief, such as “climate change”, the reasoning behind “The Index” explains why the Tea Party Movement can be so resilient in their belief that it is a fraud, considering the majority of the content they see, is tailored to meet their belief that it is.

Same goes for racism that is growing in Europe. Same goes for politicians disconnecting from their electorate, same goes for virtually anyone operating and getting a majority of their information from digital media types controlled by The Index.

They might not understand why society is moving in one direction, when they, themselves are only fed information which reconfirms their already conformed opinions. Thus their resentment towards democratic structures, powers and people with a different opinion grows.

This goes against the non-filtered, non-indexed philosophy of the Internet, which advocated that the access to information would bring us closer to eachother. However, as the information increased to such extent that we needed The Index to take over the control, and as sentiment based analysis brought us only the content that we like, the opposite actually becomes true.

And thus the major challenge of The Index and The Internet, is now that it has turned from being an open space to interact, into closed nodes of conformed opinions, moving further apart.

Which also explains the evolution of p2p messaging systems, that totally exclude others from joining in the discussion. Bringing their ideas to the table.

What the power of The Index means to a marketer

This also explains why digital marketing is becoming increasingly difficult as visibility scores decrease more and more. Although we engage the same amount of people, by getting them to like our posts, comment on our blogs, link to our transactional pages etc – we do not get the same reach, influence growth nor visibility.

As The Index starts disregarding your information, as it is not the most preferred by an end user, you will have to start paying up to reach the same people you previously reached for free.

The price increase as more content, links and people enter the platform you’re on, or the Internet as a whole.

So. What is our way through this as marketers?

Some are left outside The Index

There are still entities in the digital world which doesn’t operate within The Index. An example of such are all platforms that operate on timestamps rather than on popularity or sentiment. Examples of such platforms are personal blogs and forums where users see the latest post or thread on top. Yes, they also see where most discussion is taking place, but usually, the most promoted content is what has been published most recently.

Same goes for some of the worlds news websites. The ones who haven’t confirmed to BuzzFeed click baiting, retargeting and contextual ads philosophies yet.

These platforms are unfiltered by The Index and are as such, opportunities for other perspectives to reach people around the world.

Using The Index perspective For Marketing

Skills you need to market within The Index

Let’s get down to the tactics of these bigger dystopian thoughts. I will not even begin to elaborate on what we have to do as a society. But as marketers, we have to ask ourselves three questions:

  1. Is the platform we are marketing on, a part of The Index, or is it still a gullible child?
  2. If mature, conformed to The Index, are there ways in which we can bypass it in order to leverage its algorithm?
  3. If too rigid and strong, are there ways in which we can run with it, give us what we want?

As we find the answer to these questions, we need to build tactics that suit them. And I will give a few examples below to show you how you apply the knowledge of the index to your marketing tactics.

Understanding Marketing through Nodes generated by the Index

But first we need to understand what the index does to us as groups online.

Essentially, as The Index blocks content that we may not like from our reach through various platforms. In plain text, as Facebook doesn’t show posts from Peter as you seem to hate Peters posts, and as Google doesn’t show you that 99.5% of all researchers finds support for Global warming, since you seem to be a member of the Tea Party movement.

This means that people with the same opinions and preferences end up with different sets of information, confirming their beliefs and opinions. Thus, content with one opinion or set of inputs will only reach the nodes which agrees with it.

Think of it as the web, at first being one big glass of water. If you poured syrup into that glass of water, then it turned into the colour of the syrup and might pick up its taste. The same was true for great ideas and great marketing online. As you put your idea into the web, it was shared between users, until all were contaminated or influenced by your perspective.

What the index has done, is to make the web, or turn that big glass of water, into several smaller shot glasses. If you pour syrup into one of them, the other ones won’t be affected with colour or taste. Same goes for an idea or marketing campaign. It will remain within one small community, and not reach other communities unless you use tactics to make it.

The segregated campaign structure

This also forces us to drop the integrated campaign structure and move towards the segregated campaign structure, where we let our marketing efforts take on different shapes and forms in different communities, nodes and in communication between people.

We need to have a 360 approach, without a 360 creative or messaging. We have to have a purpose to share an idea, offer or belief, but we also need to frame it – not in format – but in our complete messaging, if we want to reach through the nodes.

We also need to consider that there is no such thing as a strategy for Facebook or for Google, but there is a strategy for visibility that uses forums, facebook, google and a whiskey tasting session at a local bar in Paris.

Cause, if you understand how The Index operates, you also understand that turning the world into a website, might help you break through and enter nodes you otherwise would have been disregarded from.

Thus. Just two quick examples for now… just to set you off with some tactics.

1. Getting Facebook Likes – in the world of The Index

If your goal is getting Facebook Likes, then the best tactic might be to start a blog, embedding the posts from your Facebook page, posting the links from those blog posts into forums that are not filtered by The Index, entering the forum post links as you content for a Tweet, which discussion it then generates, is embedded to the blog post in order to create a second wave of promotion in the same cycle, all generating organic visibility for your content, between nodes, thus increasing your total visibility, reach and thus also ability to gain more likes on that post AND on your page.

You move inside The Index, then outside, then inside, then outside, then inside, then outside, poking new communities, preference bubbles and people along the way.

2. Getting reach on a Video – in the world of the Index

Let’s say I want my latest video, inserted into The Index through YouTube, to gain traction.

Once realising the power of The Index, it makes perfect sense that 80% of all views on viral videos are generated outside the platform. Knowing this, I must develop a tactic which breaks The Index and gets my content outside YouTube in order to make it visible.

Thus a mix of PR, spam (read purchases of advertising – non earned) and forum tactics are in place. Just posting a great creative and purchasing ads, will not make it viral.

  1. You need to employ viral tactics to the content in order to be shared with people within a specific node.
  2. AND use your knowledge of The Index in order to know where to turn to in order to reach to new nodes.

THIS is how you do tactics and marketing on the web of The Index, and I will try to build on this idea, just as I have built on the 5 Cs of Viral Marketing in order to give you a framework to work with when developing marketing tactics for yourself or for your clients.

Stay tuned as this perspective turns into tactics by registering for my newsletter which popup should be resting somewhere annoyingly overwhelming to the bottom right of this screen.

As I said. I believe this is the most important piece of content I have ever written. I am sure someone has written this before, however, this time it is me. I believe that there might be about four (4) of you out there who read this far in this post. So, for that I want to thank you for giving me your time, and make yourself noted in the comments so that I know who you are and can thank you individually!

 

September 16, 2014

Content is shit, all hail viral mechanics!

The past 16 years I have had the great fortune of working with a range of different brands with very different ideas on how to run a business. One thing that unites all of them, however, is their unwillingness to be the first one to jump into the water and swim whenever a new thing come along.

Benchmark has since long, been the way brands try to hedge what their own position in the business landscape should be all about.

This is perhaps a great way of understanding where the market is moving, however, when applied to marketing in 2014, looking at what others do, might be what makes you fail. Especially if you copy, rather than understand the mechanics at work behind the results.

The value of social media

The past year we have seen the victorious viral of Volvo Trucks, the Ice bucket challenge and a series of other wild campaigns that have been shared between people online. Naturally, marketing directors are pointing fingers, asking their agencies for their own version of the above.

It has always been this way.

What many fail to understand however, is WHY and HOW these viral campaigns became the huge successes they did.

Human behaviour at the core of the launch

In the media, in blogs and in most of the story telling coming out of these campaigns, the focus has been the content. It has been about the story and how people choose to engage with something they care about.

I would like to argue that this has very little to nothing to do with the final outcome. Content is shit, when it comes to generating a viral effect in any type of media.

Rather. It is the behavioural mechanics and the understanding of formatting/optimising which is what makes a campaign go viral or not. The difference is in the detail. It is about the choice of words in a button and about the ability to change, until it takes off.

However, mainly, the success of a viral campaign resides in whether or not it coheres to the principles of conformity, challenge, charisma, creativity and cheating. You can listen in on the 5 Cs of viral marketing in the video listed above.

Everyone forgets the launch

Besides the behavioural mechanics, most marketeers forget that the launch of a campaign is as crucial as the product in itself. Just like product development in the startup community, a campaign has to adapt until it sits with its audience.

Most budgets are spent on production or hijacked to some crappy banner advertising at the date of launch. Very little money goes into adapting the messaging or the layout. Even less goes into creating additional stories about the content, making it relevant to more bloggers, online magazines and newspapers.

Do it and it will get done

In viral marketing, you need to reach through, not only reach out. You need to be inline with the purpose of the visit, the view or the action in order to generate a share. The only way to get there is to focus on optimising your own journey so that it is inline with the behaviour, purpose and interests of who you are trying to reach.

It is only when you understand these principles that it also becomes fun, easy and really really profitable to jump into the water and swim on your own.

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June 3, 2010

Don’t forget the Story about the Story

What is it that makes the difference between a viral something and a flop? My guess, when it comes to creative virals, is that it is  the story about the story, and not the story itself. Think about it. When releasing something in the online sphere, you need to release it into a context. As the amount of content online is so vast and in many instances great, to simply focus on content quality is not merely enough.

The movie industry has been successful in doing this for years with “behind the scenes” material and story telling about the story. A good example is the latest Robin Hood movie where they have launched a full series of “epic proportion” PR releases that are being taken up by the tv-stations around the world to boost demand. The quality in the story about the story is almost as thoroughly produced as the story itself.

The Old Spice example
A good example of a commercial released lately that has a story behind the story is that of Old Spice. First the video was released. It was fabulous… it seemed as though everyone walked around saying “… look at your man, now back at me…”. The video jumped and got included in hundreds of blogs, newspapers etc. all over the world. Highly creative, great content and great scripting created an initial boost for the video.

However, the producers of the old spice commercial didn’t want to leave things to chance. They played out the story behind the story card when telling the world they had shot the full video in one shot. People now had to watch it 5-10 times more in order to be able to spot how the heck they did it. Naturally they released a behind the scenes version of the same commercial with “reviews” from the rest of the industry included into it, saying not only that this was a fantastic production, but the way they did it was fantastic as well.

An ad agency, such as the one I work for often focus on the story. The story behind the story is almost always looked past. Not only by the agency, but by the client and by the time frame of the project. This is a huge problem as the virality of a project becomes more of a game of chance rather than a game of skill. Yes, you can cheat, which most of the bigger productions do, but it just doesn’t feel right in the gut when you do. It is like winning a price but having no one to compete against.

I know I haven’t written in a while, and I know this post is not what you expect of me. However, the story about the story shall never be forgotten. I am working on a post which will get its story about the post itself… and so I wanted to share these thoughts with you as a quickie before my bomb falls this weekend.

//Jesper

Possibly related posts:
May 11, 2010

Chasing the art of Virality

If there is one thing I know I’m good at, it is creating viral concepts. I started generating a new set of concepts once Facebook’s open graph was launched and I feel as though I can meet the future with not only methodology but with a big cradle of fun as well. Many people claim that you cannot create a viral reaction to a campaign. Some say that it all depends upon how contagious and killer the content is. Some people say that there is nothing called viral at all and that it is all cheating and playing with numbers. I say it’s all about the understanding of how a virus works.

I still have the “I Love you” virus on a disk. It sparked many processes in my brain that have continuously plagued me since. If you study it long enough you can almost see how its engineers thought of a social process such as the one we are now currently embracing online. There are some components in a virus, that you need to make a viral campaign. These components will not get you all the way, but they are a must. You need a carrier, you need a network, you need a trusted relationship and you need some kind of contact.

The Carrier

The carrier is the infected individual. In terms of disease this individual will carry the virus or bacteria as long as it chooses to stay in the body, or more accurately until our immune system refuses it. In terms of marketing, the carrier is the one person you manage to engage. In terms of spam, the carrier is the host you have managed to infect. Just like disease, a carrier when exposed to marketing is a lot more resistant to old viruses, ideas and concepts. However, this does not mean that you can find loyal carriers for old ideas or offers, just as there are weak immune systems that can get infected more than once.

The Network & Contact

The carrier needs to host a network or be connected to it. In the case of the “I love you” virus, your contacts got hi-jacked, in the case of Facebook’s Open Graph you allow it access. The network needs to be structured and there needs to be some kind of way to determine what the different data types represent. Just as with disease and the people who do not clean their hands before eating, you need followers or sloppy people who wants to spend some time in the network in order for your virus to be contagious.

If you have 100 people in your network, you only need a conversion rate of 1% to make a viral campaign spread at a ratio of 1:1 which means it will be shared in eternity.

The Trust

Really evil or well thought out viral campaigns adds the trust aspect as well. This is just like optimization of any marketing campaign. If you manage to tap into trust you can share the most malicious viruses or the most profitable viral marketing campaigns. Just as HIV is shared through unprotected sexual intercourse, which is an act based on a trusted relationship (or just simple, adulterated and shameless lust), a viral marketing campaign that builds upon trust between users will more easily extract the kind of data needed to make a real business case out of the data itself.

Some other thoughts

Now, as I said, there is more to virality than the components above. You need triggers, you need concepts and you need content that is suitable for a scalable campaign that will run at a steady state over time. You don’t want your viral campaign to kill your servers (a positive acceleration), nor do you want it to blast and go past (a negative acceleration), but you want it to have constant returns to scale. For each person that joins, you want them to infect one other person. Think about it. It won’t take that long to get the whole world in on the modern, social web.

Possibly related posts:
October 5, 2009

I am a fu**ing Social Media Guru

Since I turned to the buyers side, I sort of meet this kind of social media guru guy every single day. In some way I can relate. I mean sometimes I’ve just been soo eager to say the words – “I am going to point you in the direction of using some common fuckin’ sense…”

And especially when I listen to some people out there with big mouths who have nothing to show for it, who have never made ANYTHING work… for the future.. all I will do is pick up this blog post, sit back and laugh!

Enjoy!!

//Jesper

September 24, 2009

Viral Campaign – The ultimate How to

The title of this post might induce some critics, but I am used to them, and they teach me stuff they don’t even know about. So, I like the self indulging “ultimate how to” phrasing as it is exactly what I am going to tell you.

So simple, yet one of my biggest secrets. The viral campaign has allways been an element in my basket of tricks to pull out when I want to make something profitable. Some people are talking about viral videos, some people are talking about viral content. All they are really talking about is content that someone has either 1. got really lucky to get a lot of visitors too, or 2. something of quality that someone has payed someone to bump in order for the rest of us to enjoy. Actually, most of the videos that go viral and that have a commercial undertone are bought. There are several clans that both push stuff on digg, watch stuff on youtube or spam people on twitter. If you have good content enough, and you want guaranteed results in your campaigning.. then spam is not a bad idea to start from.

However, this how to is not about spam. This how to is how you get mediocre, highly commercial content to get shared between users. Read More