Viral Campaigns Waste Marketers’ Time

Written on
Sep 7, 2007 
Sarah Novotny  |

timeclock.jpgFor a long time now, advertisers and journalists alike have been singing the praises of viral marketing campaigns, especially with the advent and rise of social networks. However, a new report out by JupiterResearch could have marketers playing a different tune.

In “Viral Marketing: Bringing the Message to the Masses,” JupiterResearch analysts have found that a mere 15% of viral campaigns launched within the last year have proven successful. The report also stated that within the next year the use of this particular method will decrease as much as 55%. The ineffectiveness of viral campaigns comes mostly from misdirected tactics, preventing brand delivery and lasting power.

The response of analysts is to target “influentials” when launching a viral campaign, but to do this; marketers must first understand their audience. Emily Riley, analyst for Jupiter said in a statement that, “Viral marketers often send one campaign to all influentials. Different influential groups not only respond very differently to advertising campaigns, but also influence other in very different ways.”

Continuing, the report said that “relatively younger” users are less likely than “relatively older” users to forward advertising messages and communicate with friends about ads. Older users have an increased use of email and video where younger users are on social network more often.

JupiterResearch president, David Schatsky said in the statement, “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.”

He concluded, “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.”

Sarah Novotny is a contributing editor at Adotas. Sarah grew up in San Jose, California. Her educational and professional career have taken her to both Los Angeles and New York City where she received a B.F.A. from NYU. As a writer, Sarah has free-lanced for various publications focusing primarily on traditional advertising and media reviews. When not writing and editing for Adotas, Sarah is continuing her acting career in various theatrical and film/television productions.

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