Most viral videos fail to make an impact

20 August 2010

LONDON: Over 90% of branded viral videos fail to generate significant buzz among web users, a study has found.

New Media Age, the trade title, partnered with digital agency Rubber Republic to assess the fortunes of 200 such efforts in the last 20 weeks.

Just 17 clips featured in the top ten in terms of viewing levels for two separate weeks, meaning only 8.5% of these initiatives delivered any kind of longevity.

"They spread so fast that videos can be past their share-by dates within a week after they launch," said Adam Abu-Nab, a strategist at Rubber Republic.

"People don't want to share things once they're past that point because they don't want to seem uncool."

The average item tracked in the NMA/Rubber Republic analysis generated 199,181 hits, and was recommended 681 times on Facebook and 159 times on Twitter.

Procter & Gamble's Old Spice, Apple and Nike Relief were some of the brands which achieved success with more than one piece of content in the period covered by the report.

Nike's "Write the Future" World Cup ad was the most buzz-worthy campaign, being shared 299,262 times via Facebook and 31,454 times through Twitter.

The latest addition to Blendtec's long-running, low-tech, "Will it Blend?" series, in this case starring Apple's iPad, was another popular viral.

A key problem facing companies in this area is the vast amount of material posted on the internet, as demonstrated by the fact that 24 hours of footage is uploaded to YouTube alone every minute.

Toni Smith, managing director of The Viral Factory, argued a nuanced and targeted approach is vital given the scale of this challenge.

"Seeding has become more essential for a good viral campaign because it should be able to give you a good level of immediate exposure, while also giving a few more weeks of exposure after," she said.

Data sourced from New Media Age; additional content by Warc staff