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How to Analyze Viral Campaigns – eMetrics Stockholm
September 29, 2010
17
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I held my last talk ever on the 28th of September (except for the case that Dialogkonferansen calls me up again). I won’t do any more conferences as I feel so sick before I go on stage. I am nervous about a day and a half before, and I put ridiculous pressure on myself to perform. That’s why I simply cannot stand it.

Also, I put some crazy effort into my presentations with practice and preparations. That takes a lot of time for virtually “free work”.

Now to the presentation that I did hold.

First off I wanted to talk about viral campaigns and how to generate traffic through them. I talked about my 5 C’s for viral marketing (book still not out … doh…) and I discussed how one could start the analysis by answering the question of where the problem really is. Do we have enough links? Do we have enough traffic? Do we convert well? Do we get customers to come back? etc.

I went on into talking about K-factor and marketing driven viral campaigns vs. organically driven viral campaigns. We discussed that it is not only the nominal number of views/hits/visitors that explains if a video or page has gone viral. It is the shape of the slope and the second derivative of the slope that gives you a good alert for if you are running a viral campaign or if it will die.

Please look through the presentation below and comment if you want me to explain anything.

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About author

Jesper Åström

Jesper Åström is a digital tactician hired by people and companies all over the world to help solve their digital challenges. He is also a liked educator and business creator and currently develops educational programs in collaboration with Hyper Island in Sweden and Singapore, whilst building businesses in Sweden and Japan. Subscribe to Jespers YouTube Channel

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There are 17 comments

  • In most client meetings I have been at they wanted “viral hit” with their campaign. At the end of the campaign the client manager used to begin her report with “Yes! We got it viral!” no matter how bad it was.

    Viral became a keyword in 2007 that if you don’t use than you don’t know what you are talking about. But today talk like that? Who wants to measure a term that is so amorphic?

    Why not keeping it simple? You have the estimation of exposure to media campaign, you have sales figures. Now put them both nicely on a graph and calculate the conversion rate.

    • Jesper Astrom says:

      Common mistake. If you run a modern web campaign you will have to adjust it along the way in order to make it go viral. If you take the second derivative of the activity curve you will know whether or not your campaign is slowing down or whether it has gone viral. If you measure during the campaign you will be able to adjust your messages and thus get better results.

      To use the phrase viral has nothing to do with the result, but more with the process leading to the result. To say that a video with 14 000 000 views is a viral video is simply wrong. If all those 14 million views have been bought, then we don’t have a viral campaign. However, it might still be a fantastic campaign.

      So. To say that you should just measure end results is not sufficient. That’s merely how you evaluate the effects of the campaign once you sum it up.

      • I am not sure that I am getting you, so I’ll explain it in a different way. For the common vice vice vice c.e.o of marketing viral will be whatever the advertising agency will tell him/her. It will is en empty term that stands for nothing but to pump some air to the client’s ego so they will feel good for spending money on that campign.

        On a professional level Viral can be one of these two definitions. 1. the amplitude of the campaign or 2. degree of reach.
        The amplitude it is when the reach of the campaign growing exponently or having ups and downs in the number of users exposed to it, after the campaign ended. An exemple is that Egyptian panda commercial. It was aired a few months ago, but I still getting it via mail, FB stream, Twitter and so on.
        Here it is extremely easy to define virallity. You just set measuring times after the campaign ended. So if exposure increses from a time point the one after it you got yourself a viral campaign. Wanna know how viral? Calculate the Delta between points of time that you measure.

        The second are the degree of exposure. If I got a link to a commercial from a friend of a friend of a friend that actually saw it on TV and went to YouTube to spread it so the virality degree is 3.
        If I was a mathmatician I would be able to draw an equation that measure the total estimated exposure accumulated in all the degrees by the number of social contacts the users have and so on.

        What I wanted to say in this wayyyy too long comment is that the term viral is meaningless. It is the agency that uses gives it its meaning.
        The client will not write in its report “The campaign went viral. Therefore next year we will increase the advertising budget by 12%”.

        • Jesper Astrom says:

          From my point of view you couldn’t be more wrong. Viral has nothing to do with the end result or how you evaluate it. Viral is a process that targets the organic expansion of a campaign driven by users rather than advertising. How far a campaign has reached should only be viewed as a viral factor if it has done so organically. I hear and understand what you are saying, but I simply don’t agree with you.

          I see viral as a lot more than huff and puff from agencies. I know a lot of agencies do use it as huff and puff, but ask them how they define it and they won’t be able to answer. But to say that it doesn’t have relevance to marketing is just as saying SEO doesn’t have relevance to PPC campaigns.

  • Steve says:

    Hi Jesper,

    I’d urge you to reconsider your position on speaking for 2 reasons. Firstly you have a very strong style.
    Yours was one of the stand out presentations of this years emetrics.

    It was entertaining and educational. I remember the last speech from emetrics last year that you did also.

    Second, if you do presentations for YouTube you will reach more people and possibly produce better presentations. But you will not be outside your comfort zone. Also what happens when one of your bids goes viral? Are you gonna turn down speaking gigs which are paid? And can you reproduce the quality of created content in a live setting without practice? Even more pressure then to perform.

    I have been speaking for 5 years and have managed to get the terror down to about 30 mins before I speak though I never look forward to them even weeks in advance. I still do it because it scares me and there is nothing else about my field that challenges me in this way.

    My advice – stick at it. Anyone who tells you they don’t feel like you do before they go up is either doing it every day or a liar. You’re already very good and you’ll only get better.

    Cheers
    Steve.

    • Jesper Astrom says:

      Thank you Steve!

      I am very humbled by your comment.

      For now it is a definitive decision from my end. I will possibly consider it in the future, but I just get too sick. I think it is super fun whilst “on stage”, but the before and after takes too much energy for me to see how I can keep my health intact haha…

      I will focus on getting my delayed book in on time and doing my tests/research. That’s where I can contribute the most from my own perspective. Since I am building an agency as well, together with an awesome team of employees and co-founders, I have a difficult time motivating myself to go through the nervousness and stomach issues I get from the lectures. Perhaps that will all change in the future, but for now I feel like I just need a looooooong break if not an infinite one.

      However, I don’t know if I can begin to convey the happiness I feel when you say you remember the presentation from last year. Thanks a lot for mentioning it!

      Cheers,
      Jesper

  • Steve says:

    Since I am building an agency as well, together with an awesome team of employees and co-founders, I have a difficult time motivating myself to go through the nervousness and stomach issues I get from the lectures.

    I hear you, am there now, been there, bought the t-shirt and sometimes it’s shit t-shirt :). But I think you need a wider audience. eMetrics is great, it’s where I go to learn, not to pitch. There are maybe 75-100 people in stockholm on a good year but it’s 100 of the brightest and the best. But the eMetrics isn’t where your presentation would build your agencies reputation and bring in leads.

    In events where you can pitch (like AdTech) I have seen excellent results, and talking to a bigger crowd while more nerve wracking quickly builds your confidence. The biggest for me was about 600 people and I was shitting myself before I got on stage. It was then that it dawned on me that the 1st minute is the hardest, everything after the first minute is gravy because by then the nerves are focused on the content and what you want to say.

    Also writing a book is the best business card you can have. Good luck with that.

    However, I don’t know if I can begin to convey the happiness I feel when you say you remember the presentation from last year. Thanks a lot for mentioning it!

    It was one of the stand out presentations from last year too and why I’ve been following the stuff you’ve been putting out since then (mostly via twitter).

  • LarsN says:

    I would echo Steve’s comments Jesper. You had an excellent presentation and really engaging style. You have no need to be nervous – you know your stuff, and you present it extremely well. I really enjoyed listening to your presentation, and have come back to view the slides a number of times now, just to refresh some specifics of what you presented. I’d like to thank you for facing down the butterflies and giving that presentation. I was quite inspired by your viewpoints and can already apply a bit of strategy gleaned from your presentation, to an upcoming project!

    I’ll of course look for your Youtube stuff, but I find the impact of a live talk is much better than video (from my perspective as a member of an audience) and would hate to see a clear talent like yours disappear from the conferences. We need more speakers like yourself out there, not less.

    Thanks again for your presentation – I really enjoyed it!

    Public speakers often try to imagine the audience as naked while giving a presentation – in our industry this may be the reason for the stomach issues. I find it much easier to imagine the audience wearing rabbit costumes. How threatening can someone in a bunny outfit really look? ;-)

    • Jesper Astrom says:

      Ha ha… Thank you!

      Haven’t thought of the rabbit costume yet. That one might actually work. Have thought of the audience naked previously but many times I lecture in front of only females which might defuse the concentration a bit :).

      Please use, copy and change the presentation at your own will. I will put up the CC license here in the blog making all material available for editing and use for commercial purposes.

      //Jesper

  • Rather than reinventing the wheel I’ve built an echo chamber to echo the words of Steve and my namesake.

    I did five presentations in two weeks just now. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get nervous. In fact, it’s the human way of making sure you stay sharp. If you wouldn’t be nervous in the slightest you’d probably deliver a sucky presentation. I could tell you the names of big speakers who would agree, but I don’ think they’d like to be outed, so I won’t.

    All I can say is that your presentation was truly well-received.

  • Rasmus says:

    This was my first time at a conference like this and I will be back next year only if Jesper is speaking.. man that was a really good, entertaining and engaging speech. I am not a pro in webanalytics (yet) and i think your presentation was simple and clear for me to understand. I didn´t go on every presentation but some of them were too complicated for a rookie ;). I’m gonna remember the 5c’s and the hockey stick for a long time. Thanx!

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