What is viral reach? I see viral reach as a piece of content that’s passed on from one person to the next because they see some kind of value in it or have been entertained by it and want to share it with someone whose opinion they care about. People who send on viral content want to be seen as cool or in the know.
When we started 7Dffrnt Knds of Smke, we knew that mobile was a viral touch point and we therefore knew that if we were to be a successful mobile ad agency we would have to produce viral campaigns. Though, we also knew that just because consumers have the ability to pass something on doesn’t mean they will.
Brands don’t make viral campaigns, consumers make campaigns viral.
Whatever you are putting out there has to be worth sharing and easy to share. So the checklist we refer to when launching a campaign is as follows:
- Is it a creative piece – does it add value, is it entertaining, is it well crafted?
- Does it tie into the brand’s objectives? It must deliver ROI.
- Is it supported by media? If no one knows about it how will they pass it on?
- Is it easy for the consumer to share, and will the person they are sharing it with be able to experience it? (Otherwise what’s the point of sharing it in the first place?)
Mobile marketers keep going on about mobile media vs. traditional media. Stats keep being passed around shouting about how everyone has a mobile phone and how there are more mobile phones in SA than television sets. All the brand really cares about is how this equals reach and sales.
If a brand is launching a mobile campaign where all the above points have not been checked then the campaign is not going to achieve the kind of reach the brand needs. Thus mobile continues being the ugly step child – despite its wonderful features and beautiful personality.
The evolution of the mobile industry is really interesting. As technology gets smarter it gets easier for agencies to divert from true creativity (in a traditional sense) and instead come up with clever technical solutions that have the potential of engaging a few hundred thousand consumers as opposed to millions of consumers.
Just take a look at the sudden explosion of brands asking for app development. Sure, apps are cool and people with smartphones love downloading these nifty gadgets, but is the brand really going to be happy spending a couple of 100K on something that gets them into the pockets of 10 000 people because it’s too much effort to download the app and it only works on smartphones? What does the brand think about mobile after a campaign like that? What does the mobile budget look like next fiscal?
The argument from the agency during post campaign might be that the brand is ahead of its time and that SA obviously has to catch up. The same argument could be applied to why campaigns that require consumers to make their own TV ads to win a prize, don’t work.
What if that same brand invested that same amount of money and built a mobi site that contained some really entertaining, well-crafted interactive videos that worked on 14 000 different handset models (smartphones and non-smartphones) and ended up reaching 1.8 million consumers – wouldn’t that be a better result for the brand, the agency and the industry?
Now I am not saying that brands should favour mobi sites instead of apps; what I am saying is that clients and agencies should take care of the brand’s foremost objective – reach as many consumers as possible within the target market.
The more accessible the campaign is, the wider the audience and the more consumers there are sharing the experience with each other.
Bottom line is, the more mobile campaigns achieve viral reach, the more brands will realise the power of mobile and why it needs to be given the same level of attention, love and budget traditional channels receive.