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Viral Marketing Achieved A Shaky 15% Pass Along Rate Last Year


A new Jupiter Research study confirms what I've argued a lot in this space: viral marketing is a very hard slog. Jupiter contends that a mere 15 percent of last year's viral campaigns succeeded in persuading consumers to distribute their messages for them. Of course, the 15 percent that do succeed -- Mentos and Blendtec and Jericho -- often do so with amazing results.  It's those shining stars that keep everyone trying. But Jupiter reminds us that a single viral message won't influence the influencers in any single optimum way. To broaden the viral appeal, it seems logical that you might need a number of viral creatives. And a big bottle of aspirin to dull the inevitable headaches.

For the complete article, click here.

WebProNews: September 4, 2007
By Mike Sachoff

Viral Marketing Not As Contagious As Thought 

When it comes to viral marketing only 15 percent of advertisers reached the goal of prompting consumers to pass along their messages for them in the past year according to a new report from JupiterResearch, "Viral Marketing: Bringing the Message to the Masses."

Even with the popularity of social media sites like MySpace and YouTube, viral marketing campaigns are consistently proving ineffective in delivering and sustaining a brand over time, mainly because of misdirected tactics.

Targeting "influentials" was the most popular technique to create viral behavior, viral marketers plan to decrease the use of this tactic by 55 percent within the next year. Social media sites that encourage user-generated would seem to be a good vehicle for viral marketing campaigns, but those launching the campaigns must take a closer look to understand the habits of the appropriate audiences.

"Viral marketers often send one campaign to all influentials," explained Emily Riley, Analyst at JupiterResearch. "Different influential groups not only respond very differently to advertising campaigns, but also influence others in very different ways."

The report found that relatively older online users are more likely than relatively younger users to forward advertising messages to friends or tell friends about ads. With young audiences showing an increased use of social sites, relatively older audiences show an increased use of email, video and should be included in viral marketing campaigns.

"There are definitely pitfalls associated with the social networking sites. While these sites may appear to be the most effective manner of delivering a message regardless of brand appropriateness, by failing to truly understand the audience, viral marketers stand to alienate as many consumers as they interest," said David Schatsky, President of JupiterResearch.

"Advertisers should be cognizant of the fact that attempts to reach outside their brand images or target demographics and only end up looking like they are trying too hard."