“We believe that viral video is a myth,” Jun Group CEO and Founder Mitchell Reichgut told me in a Skype call yesterday afternoon. What does he mean by “myth”? Basically, he means that the idea that a video can get millions of views on its own, without a very well funded and constructed strategy or a push from mainstream media, is bogus.
Reichgut and his colleagues at Jun Group live by this belief and they’ve made a business out of helping brands, from Disney to HBO, MSN, Dove, Nike, Axe, Altoids, Kraft and more, get that little push that they need to go viral. Jun Group is a social video company that guarantees millions of user-initiated video views across social networks, mobile devices, premium content providers and YouTube.
How do they do it? There’s no secret sauce or formula involved. Basically, Jun Group entices viewers to watch videos by offering virtual currency in exchange for views. They’ve got direct relationships with over 300 popular social games and gamers (online and mobile) are offered rewards, noninvasively, in exchange for watching and they’ve found this method to be extremely successful. Reichgut told me, “We believe that people on the Internet don’t like advertising and are recently empowered to avoid it.” But with this method of advertising, viewers actually want to watch so they can claim their reward and apparently up to 30 percent of people actually view and interact with the videos (some even liking and sharing them to get the viral ball rolling).
What’s great about this method is that Jun Group is not only able to get viewers for your video, but they are able to target them. For instance, if you’ve got a product for moms, they can ensure that a majority of your viewers will be female. And targeted traffic is a lot more useful for brands than lots of views from randoms that don’t care one way or another about the brand or product. Reichgut says, “You don’t need a huge number of views to be a success.” Driving targeted traffic to a half a million viewers is often better. [Note: For more on this, check out RapidFire Consulting’s video on The Vague Value Of Viral Videos].
Reichgut’s advice for brands and advertisers? Stop thinking about viral! “You don’t want a viral video, you want a sophisticated advertising campaign that reaches your target audience.” You want to ask yourself how much money you’ll have to spend, what your marketing strategy will be and what you can expect as an end result. Making a video, uploading it and sitting back to wait for it to “go viral” just won’t cut it.
And Mitchell Reichgut and his colleagues at Jun Group aren’t the only ones who share this belief. Over the summer I wrote about a Beet.TV interview with Seraj Bharwani, Chief Analytics Officer at Visible Measures and Molly Sugerman, Director of Digital Innovation and Horizon Media in which they discussed the fact that brands can’t expect to go viral without investing some money. Bharwani said, “It appears easy when you see Old Spice out there or Evian Babies out there, but there is a lot of art and science associated with [going viral]. You have to pay to promote your video in all of the right places where consumers can discover.”
What’s your take on the viral video debate? Do you think it’s necessary to invest money into giving your video that push it needs to go viral, or do you still have pipe dreams of videos being good enough to go viral on their own?
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.