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Do You Need a Viral Video for Your Business?

April 25, 2012

Does your business need a viral video? I mean, do you need a video to go viral in order for it to be successful?

“Viral” has become a buzzword for video success – it means you’ve gotten more views on YouTube than you can shake a stick at. Huge numbers of views can shoot you up the Google rankings and push your brand into another realm (see dollarshaveclub.com). But does your company video need, I mean, really need to have hundreds of thousands of views in order to be successful?

I believe the answer is no. “Viral” isn’t the only measure of success. In fact, I’ve seen more examples of business videos go viral for being bad rather than being good.

Take, for example, this pharmaceutical commercial:

It’s about a depressed woman being followed around by a creepy, but kind of cute blobby thing that symbolizes her depression. It’s weird. The blob doesn’t disappear by the end of the video, undermining the whole premise that Abilify makes you feel better. And the comments are filled with negative comments, either about the video or the drug.

Sure, there are lots of examples of successful viral videos or campaigns. I loved, loved, loved the Old Spice campaign and think it was completely brilliant.

But the qualities that make a video go viral (and let’s not pretend this is an exact science) are not the qualities that are best for every profession or every industry. Do you really want to see a funny video about treating cancer?

The other question to ask is: Does getting so many thousands of hits really serve your company? You might be trying to physically get people in your door – is it going to help your business if someone across the Atlantic gets a chuckle out of your video and shares it with friends?

A well-done video that goes viral can be very valuable for national and international brands. But if you’re a local company, or if you operate in a very targeted market, a viral video isn’t your goal.

So before you think about the number of views you want, think about your audience and the message you want to convey. That’s the important stuff. If your goal is to convert views into customers or clients, 100 views from people who are in your region and/or have searched for your service or product are much more valuable than 1,000 views from people wasting time on the internet.

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