Viral video marketing is basically the exploitation of internet media and online social network in order to increase the brand awareness and recognition of the brand and in order to meet the targeted sales. The term viral explains the way in which a message becomes self replicating across the internet. The tern viral video refers to the video clip content that gains widespread popularity through the use of internet as the medium .
Viral marketing is basically the online equivalent to the word-of mouth. Viral marketing and word-of-mouth are different in the content of the virus to the original consumer and is directly related to the number of other users it attracts. Viral video marketing has no connection to spam, worm or any other destructive sorts. Instead, a viral video marketing campaign seems to use the cost-effective forces through spreading information and content exponentially, using social network online.
Communication is that process by which an individual transmits stimuli to other individuals in order to influence their behaviour.
Social Networking sites:
These online sites are platforms for people to socially connect and interact with various users. Viral videos used for marketing are generally shared through these sites, as many of them collaborate with video streaming sites with the help of links in connection to the videos. Some famous site examples include Myspace, Facebook, Hi5, Orkut, Linkedin etc.
Video sharing websites:
In comparison to the social networking sites, the video sharing websites are just the platforms used by various users for uploading and watching streamed video clips. Huge difference which lies between downloading and streaming is that while downloading data is being stored on your computer while streaming enables you to listen to or view data without storing it first.
Word-of-mouth can be defined as the form of communication among the consumers regarding their experience about a particular product or a brand .The difference that lies between traditional word of mouth and online word of mouth is that the exchange of information takes place within an “anonymous asynchronous online environment”. This is also known as the phenomenon of the word-of-mouse communication. Benefit from the word of mouth is its rapid reach.
With the help of the internet customers are able to share the information on cost and effortless basis which is influencing the brand to a very high level and this was never the case before. Like for instance, Facebook and YouTube are ranked as third and fourth most visited sites on the internet. This individual site has over 300 million registered users worldwide and seeing their success even the Vatican has realized the power of YouTube by launching the Pope’s very own channel on the site. Latest recent technology enables not only exposure, but also involvement in a manner that has not been known earlier. Spoof advertisements, brand community fan sites, uploaded corporate jingles and user generated video commercials are all examples of how customers are been inspired by an advertisement or a certain brand to the degree that they have become part of creating the commercial content.
When opposed to traditional marketing which consists of an obvious sender-receiver relationship between a company and the customer, the relationship has become substantially more complicated these days . Other than just being the receiver of the message, the customer is also acting as the medium and channel of communication. Hence, the essence of viral marketing lies in the manner so as how to motivate the consumers to spread a commercial message without any economic incentives or promise of other material gain, hence utilizing the medium. Without this spread, an online video simply becomes a clip among millions of others. Although the challenges to create a successful viral campaign are numerous, the potential rewards are even bigger.
The happily ending story of Diet Coke and Mentos, which made the odd couple of a juggler and a lawyer world-famous, while reaching millions of potential consumers and providing unexpected exposure of two brands, is one of the many success stories that illustrate the magnificent potential of using the Internet for viral video marketing.
1.2 Problem Area
Even though the most successful viral campaigns have reached millions of people the vast majority have passed unremarked, illustrating the need to understand the forces of viral marketing. The fact that it is the consumers themselves that enable the spread of information is also the challenge. What motivates consumers to share information of commercial substance with fellow human beings? Which attributes of a video influence the perception of its content? Do positive attitudes towards a message equal the intention of forwarding it? Due to the novelty of the subject there is a need for academic research explaining the phenomenon of campaigns that have gone viral. Since viral marketing can be tremendously cost-efficient, but also very unpredictable, it is of great academic- and managerial benefit to analyse the reasons behind this phenomenon. This thesis attempts to contribute with an increased understanding of the features that impact a consumer’s intention of forwarding commercial communication in the form of online videos as well as examining the effects that this type of communication will have on brand attitude and purchase intentions.
The purpose of the thesis is to:
Identify factors that affect consumer attitude and behaviour following the exposure to a viral video as well as studying how these features interact.
Due to the scope and the purpose of the thesis, a number of delimitations have been made.
Since the purpose of the thesis is to study context- and content related features that impact consumer intentions to forward visual messages online, we have chosen to study videos that have been successful on video sharing sites like YouTube13 and Viral Video Chart14. The fact that they exist on Viral Video Chart, which is a site that compiles videos holding the largest number of views and commercial exposure online at a given time, implies that they are to be considered as relatively successful in terms of reach. With the intention of maximizing the relevance of the thesis we have exclusively used videos that have been uploaded as branded content, i.e. with a commercial purpose.
Since research in adjacent areas of study, i.e. e-mails, have shown the influence that social proof and the source of the message have on the attitude towards the e-mail as well as the likelihood of sending it forward, these two contextual factors are considered as the most relevant to test. Even though factors as personal relevance and situational mood, as well as personal traits have been stated to affect the perception of commercial content, the limited scope of the thesis has required us to disregard these factors.
Communication Effects Model
A general communication effects model is used as a reference point to explain the phenomena of the viral video marketing, thereby attempting to study and explain the relationship between exposure of the video and the effects which are been followed effects on attitude and behaviour. This model was taken due to its simplicity and applicability in order to study the customer behaviour. The model explains the causal relationship of the exposure to advertisement.
The diagram above displays the causal relationship created between the customer attitudes towards a particular advertisement, which have its effects on the brand which in turn affects the customer’s intention to purchase the brand’s products as well as his or her intentions to spread the message of the advertisement usually through the famous word of mouth. This model used here has been used to fit the subject in terms of viral videos. There is the expected direct relationship between the video attitude and intentions to share and a great significance of content and contextual factors on the above two factors. These consist of three different types of behaviour; send the video ie .forward, show the video to someone or create a similar version of the video.
The following paper will focus on the motivating factors which influences the change in attitude and behaviour, related to the topic of viral video marketing. As these changes reflect the psychological traits of the consumer behaviour , they become important marketing objectives. Hence, understanding these factors allow value creation.
In addition to cognitive recognition attached to the message which activates the sender and recipient to engage in the word-of-mouth, sharing a message with others requires the message to contain some sort of built in value. Value can be explained as “a person’s realistic preference with some particular thing or brand”. Hence, even if the video is perceived to have some value or use to the user, it will influence his or her intentions to forward it, which can be seen through the diagram.
Although only an immaterial piece of the videos that are recently running online are of utilitarian value, it has been chosen mainly to focus on people’s tendency to share information that they perceive to be of hedonic value.
Customers are generally intended to provide information to their friends in order to show their joy and positive emotions which they have experienced after or while watching the video . It can also been seen that messages which invoke a strong desire of emotions and feeling are more likely to be transmitted. Some features that evoke such emotions include humour, sentimental feelings, feeling about family, friends , novelty and highly engaging content.
Word-of-mouth can also be very well inspired if the customer perceives to have the “inside information” and if the content of the video appears to be genuine.
The general attitude towards advertisement is considered to be the key to control the attitude towards a specific commercial and thus better the general advertisement attitude better the attitude towards that particular and specific video.
As the name itself suggests that brand attitude can be very well defined as a measure to “how much a customer likes or dislikes a brand or to the level to which he holds a constructive view about it.”. As simply as it can be that the better the outlook towards the brand, the higher the plan and probability of purchasing a particular service or product. Although attitudes are relatively stable and still they change over a period of time one of the major aim of marketing communication will be to change the attitude in favour of or against the image of the brand, hence thereby increasing the chances of purchase.
Intentions to Share:
Motivational Factors to Send a Video Forward
A prerequisite while launching a viral video campaign is the eagerness of a customer to forward the particular content. A customer’s habit of spreading the information, through the so called word-of-mouth, has been realized as a very important device for the marketers and it has also claimed to have a more better impact on the actual purchase decision than mass media communication. Since the word-of-mouth communication can happen even without the sender expecting profitable rewards and because customers normally are more interested towards communication that stems from people with whom they have a connection, word-of-mouth is supposed to be more likely than traditional advertising, which therefore increases the concentration of the recipient. This implies that the content is processed more methodically in the customer’s mind compared to company communicated commercials, and the final effect will hence be bigger and more effective.
The magnitude of the content to encourage the customers to forward the messages has been mentioned by various researchers. Even after being exposed to matter which invokes tough feeling, many share their knowledge as a way of reducing the tension which is created during the dealing out of the content. Messages having lively matter are perceived as entertaining, frightening, gloomy and rousing are hence more likely to be forwarded. Such as e-mails with funny jokes, movingly sad stories and mainly apt inspiring messages are considered as relevant enough to be sent and forward even by those individuals who usually are unwilling to distribute these types of posts with others.
Applicable for the chance of forwarding is also the amount of work required from the sender to be able to pass it on. A requirement to attain a huge society with one’s message is the simplicity of forwarding the message. Due to the simplicity of the forwarded videos on the sites like YouTube, both within as well as on to the other platforms it can be assumed that the context in which the sender evaluates whether he should forward the video or not accomplish the wants of a path. Even after forwarding the content through the Internet, no matter how the technological progress, it will always require some kind of endeavour to check whether the likelihood of showing the video to others depends totally on the same factors as forwarding it online. The ease of forwarding the message is exponentially related to the core function of the social network i.e. interaction level with others.
Since a level of research shows that the depressing or stimulating content which creates panic and depression stimulates a need of word-of-mouth as its nervousness librates. Majority of the video platforms and the customers found sharing such kind of information are young and more lively and even it has to be taken into care about the more internet addicted people.
Motivational Factors to Show a Video to Others
As the basic aim for a company while up-loading a video on the internet is its reach, attentiveness, constructive ad attitude and hence an improved brand attitude, one can question if it matters whether the customer decides to forward the post or presents it to his friends. A huge difference which lies between these two types of actions is the level of processing required by the viewer after the event of watching an online video before deciding to share it with others. Thus, the time and effort taken to display the virus video to somebody needs more effort than simply forwarding it the person online
and a real life suggestion involve even advanced level of involvement in the video.
Motivational Factors to Create a Similar Video
Latest technological progress has allowed the customers to enlarge their involvement in the creation of marketing and brand related content, i.e. user generated content (UGC).There is a greater tendency towards customers and fans creating their own versions of these advertisements which resembles the real ones both in the intent and the format or order. This fact basically occurs for well established, powerful brands with which customers feel connected and relate themselves to.
Brand Attitude Influencing Intentions to Share
Studies show that brand acquaintance and position influences customers response, attitude and behaviour in various manners ; i.e. in terms of content processing style, ultimate brand choice, recollect of the famous advertisements as well as improved purchase intentions. Brand exposure is even stated to have an optimistic effect on the attitude which will simultaneously improve the brand evaluation.
The final and the utmost goal of all the marketing communication is to improve the likelihood of purchase within the targeted segment day by day ; i.e. by creating a purpose of purchase. A good communication strategy must hence concentrate on taking into account all the steps required for the purchase of process in order to avoid losing on the regular customers and the new upcoming customers on the way.
Brand awareness has beforehand been settled to improve on the brand attitude and subsequently the purchase objective. Although the pre-determined behaviours toward advertisements in usual has shown to affect the behaviour towards a specific commercial advertisement , it is of interest to determine whether these factors also influence on the purchase intentions. Due to the advertisement disorder, it is becoming difficult day by day to gain attention from consumers.
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