A new report released today from online video seeding firm Feed Company shows 70% of ad agency and media buying executives plan to increase budgets for viral video marketing in 2009. The "Viral Video Marketing Survey: The Agency Perspective" culled insights on viral video marketing trends from 40 executives at major advertising agencies and media buying firms including Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Wieden & Kennedy, Digitas, and McCann Erickson. The survey report is available here.
Despite the industry's enthusiasm for viral video, the benchmark for viral video success remains unclear with an equal percentage of respondents considering a viral video a success if it was viewed 100,000 times, 250,000 times, or 500,000 times. The tactic of creating and distributing viral video sponsored by advertisers to users on web video sites and blogs is increasing in popularity following a year that saw YouTube-charting videos from major brands such as Levi's' "Guys Backflip Into Jeans," Gatorade's "Ball Girl," and Nike "Kobe Jumps Over Car."
An overwhelming majority of agency executives reported the major benefit of viral video is the opportunity to achieve "exponential views," followed by brand engagement, and online reach. "In the past, fear of
ceding control to consumers during the marketing process made advertisers hesitant to create and release brand-themed video online," said Miguel Gonzalez, VP, creative director of Draftfcb Chicago. "But the parade of content that has 'gone viral' shows that the results are worth the effort, even when the outcome is hard to predict."
Yet ad agencies are seeking improvements on how viral video campaigns are tracked and executed: 95% of respondents seek greater accountability from vendors responsible for tracking campaign effectiveness, and more than half say there is a need for better execution of strategies. "The survey shows that agencies recognize the value of viral video for their clients even as they call for improvements," said Josh Warner, president of Feed Company. "We're definitely seeing more of these campaigns because it costs less to produce and market viral video than many other types of traditional media – and that's attractive to marketers during an economic downturn.