Viral video marketing comes of age

In recent years, Viral video has moved from an experimental practice to an established, measurable marketing tactic that delivers real results. Videos that "go viral" aren't just happy accidents anymore: when you see a video with over a million views, there's typically some smart distribution and optimization strategies involved.

One can actually use the term "social video advertising" to refer to a category, because advertisers can now invest in making their video content go viral, just like they would invest in distributing a TV commercial. This is definitely becoming a much more mainstream practice. A few months ago, the industry crunched some numbers and found that the average viral video campaign budget tripled from a year earlier - which goes to show how seriously brands are taking viral video.

Why is this approach becoming so much more common? Because people will watch videos that feel like "experiences" where they won't watch videos that feel like ads. Your garden-variety video ad is typically just a TV commercial distributed on the web, which we've all learned to ignore. Social video is about content that people enjoy and will want to share.

In the very near future, sharing will become the Holy Grail for advertisers. A shared view is not only "earned media" that advertisers don't have to pay for, but studies also show that when a brand video is shared, viewers will spend up to three times more time watching it.

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