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Engineer virality for digital video content

This week topic in our 'Morning Sessions" was how digital tactics can help video content spread for "virality" using the example of "Ship my Pants" commercial by K-Mart.

This week topic in our ‘Morning Sessions” was how digital tactics can help video content spread for “virality” using the example of “Ship my Pants” commercial by K-Mart.

“Kmart is known as a family brand … and this is not a family commercial,” Adriana Llames Kogelis, vice-president of Sears Holdings Digital Marketing Division told a branding conference in June.

But they calculated the risk they were taking by airing this spot. Instead of starting with a mass audience, Kmart targeted a niche audience through digital first. The video was served to small controlled group of digitally saavy core fans. The first 24 hours of the campaign would decide if the spot was going to live another day: online sentiment reports were being filed up to the CEO-level every two hours along with Social Media reactions and Analytics metrics.

The positive reaction monitored convinced the the brand to progressively amplified the engagement and media support, seeding it in social media and using targeted ad buys including TrueView, YouTube ads that people choose to watch, to reach a broader audience (but still defined and relevant). The brand finally expanded its online targeting from late-night show fans to more traditional Kmart fans. Within weeks, the spot spawned a sequel and, armed with the knowledge they had a hit, expanded from online-only to also include TV.

9 out of 10 viral videos in 2012 were professionally created – Mashable

The main angle of the discussion was focused around the “rinse and repeat” process from analytics applied to digital video content. Although video production can make this process more complicated, we believe that there is an opportunity to better leverage:

  • audience targeting (start with a niche as focused group and expand to broader audience upon results)
  • power of social media for nimble distribution
  • real time monitoring and performance analysis

Ultimately these technics help us manage the risk lying with big production/media budget or out-of-the-box stories.
Knowing in real time if your digital video content is getting the traction envisioned is a BIG advantage compared to pushing content out there and crossing your fingers for results..

One argument made during the conversation was the fact that if the “rinse and repeat” process can help find what best resonate with the audience, it could also be a risk for the ad agency to see its idea being “watered-down”(literally) by a client if the results are not there immediately. A valid concern as we know our clients too well, but i believe that the account , production and creative team have to work early on in the process to make sure that they have multiple story lines they can activate if the main track doesn’t perform as expected. A great technic to use is versioning, which allows for A/B testing of ads and video ads.


We also touched some innovations in digital video content that help deliver on engagement or conversion:
– Dynamic tracking to allow video in the video, E commerce in video Adways studio
– Chose your own adventure video: Adventr
– Youtube annotations: collaborative Pinterest board to track the best use of YouTube annotations
– HTML5 video tag

Presentation for additional references:

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