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August 17, 2009
Seeding Viral Video

Seeding your viral video can mean the difference between heartening-success-plus-bragging-rights and dismal-don’t-wanna-talk-about-it results. Of course there are a lot of items to address before you get started on seeding the video such as the considerations covered in this article on Planning for Measurable Outcomes.

We have a brief case study on the Moveon.org viral video which received over 21 million views which became the foundation of a presentation we put together for the Bridge to Integrated Marketing and Fundraising Conference. This was presented in collaboration with Michael Hoffman CEO of See3 Communications and we discussed what to do with your video once it has been created.

Some of the alternatives for seeding video are listed below. These are mostly paid options so for each of these I’ve added an organic tip that will help you to maximize the value of that particular channel without paying more money:

• YouTube
• Adwords
• Facebook
• Stumbleupon
• Bloggers

We discussed setting up a YouTube channel and while this can help your video to get views, one consideration is the fact that people seldom leave YouTube to interact with your site and learn more about your offering. You can get increased views by using YouTube Advertising to promote your video and while this can help it can also get expensive fairly quickly. TIP: Interact with people who have commented on videos that are similar to yours.

Another option is to use Google Adwords. Targeting specific sites on the content network can ensure that the link to your content is in front of people who really make up your target audience while they are reading about the subject that you deem to be most relevant to the video. TIP: Use the platform to find websites that attract your audience and then contact the principles of those sites directly to discuss promotions.

Facebook Advertising can provide some of the same results at a lower cost per click. Because their advertising platform is so new they are still charging relatively little, usually around 50 cents per click for traffic which can be defined on a very specific demographic level to include sex, marital status, city, workplace etc. TIP: Join relevant groups on Facebook and make friends. Remember to think of their needs first and ask them to share your video second.

EXTRA FACEBOOK TIP: A big part of our success in using Facebook to distribute viral video has been credited to our development of a custom Facebook application which allows users to send the video to segments of their personal friends list.

StumbleUpon Advertising is an even less expensive alternative at 5 cents per click, and while you can’t quite target as granularly, you can still choose your audience by interests, state, and city. TIP: Since StumbleUpon Advertising is so inexpensive it can be used to test ideas prior to going to market.

We discussed interacting with relevant blogs as a way to increase views for viral video. One thing that works well in this regard is to provide the blog with some content that links to the video. Blogging is hard work, so most people who write a blog are happy to take a day off and use some quality content that someone else may have written. Just ask them if you can guest post on their blog and link to the video. TIP: One good way to find relevant blogs is to search the Technorati Blog Index.

I hope that some of these will help you to make your viral video initiatives more successful. Is there a seeding technique that you’ve found to be particularly useful? Let us know if you have any questions!

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Eric Werner is an interactive marketing consultant specializing in Web Analytics, Organic Search Engine Optimization, and Pay-Per-Click Management. A results-driven Google Certified Adwords professional, Eric has engaged in Adwords Management for NRDC.org while at Northridge Interactive. He currently manages a Google Grant for Youthaids.org, and leads an ongoing SEO engagement with FAMM.org. Follow him on Twitter or read his Adwords Marketing Blog.
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