Jan 7, 2010

Viral Marketing: Why 15 Million Viewers Doesn't Guarantee Your Success

I recommend to watch South Park's Canada on Strike episode to learn why being a hit on YouTube doesn't automatically make you a millionaire. Attention doesn't mean anything.

Why millions of viewers on YouTube doesn't guarantee millions of dollars to you? You probably remember one or two funny viral videos which your friends have shared with you. If you are anything like me, you sometimes wonder the massive number of viewers on the most popular videos on YouTube.

Here is one video example, Stars Wars Kid with over 15 million viewers at the time of writing this article.

South Park's
Canada on Strike episode is about Canadians who want more money. In the episode, the Canadians call a strike until USA and other countries gives them more 'internet money.' The boys Stan, Kyle, Eric and Kenny begin to investigate how to make money online. They decide that making a weird video is the best way get rich on the internet.

After the kids make a popular viral video, they find an office where you can get your internet hit video reviewed for what is it worth. It turns out that they are not the only stars out there.

Do you recognize these internet celebrities?

The picture
above from Canada on Strike shows the internet stars fighting about who is the most successful celebrity online. At the end of the episode, the online stars gets a check of theoretical dollars according to what their viral hit was worth. The boys get several millions of theoretical dollars. In other words, they get nothing. Is this fair?

For what would pay for Star Wars Kid? Over 15 million viewers – so what?

Some advertisers use celebrities in their ads because people tend to notice them. It's true that a celebrity draws attention, but it doesn't guarantee sales. In most cases, the product and the star are unrelated and therefore lack the credibility. Everyone knows that you paid millions to the movie star to drink your soda in a 30-second commercial. Attention is not enough, you need to sell.

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