By Jim McCarthy May 28, 2010 1 comment

Remember This The Next Time Someone Tells You a Video Went Viral…

If you’re even sorta into World Cup soccer, you’re probably seen this video:

It’s been hailed as a great, breakout, viral hit, and there’s no doubt that it’s had massive views.  It also happens to be a nice piece of very entertaining work.

But viral?  Well, not the way most people mean.

Sure, it’s a great video that people are interesting in sharing, but it was also released on Facebook, supported by massive ad dollars.  In fact, according to this report, it’s “one of the biggest ad buys in Facebook history.”

So what happened?  With massive dollars, an excellent piece of content, celebrities, and very topical subject matter, Nike Football (meaning soccer) doubled its Facebook fans, almost overnight:

(from insidefacebook.com)

(from insidefacebook.com)

Ok, so they went from around 500,000 or so FB fans on the 22nd to more than a million on the 23rd.  That you can see on the top chart.  On the bottom chart, though, you can see that after that, the growth practically stopped.  This has all the hallmarks of an advertising-driven phenomenon, rather than a viral one.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love the piece, and someone did send it to me, but when a massive number of people have something presented to them, particularly if it’s good and relevant, some will like it and some will share it.

But that doesn’t make it viral.  If it were viral, it would continue, and if it were truly viral, it would be growing.  But it’s not.

Note also that not being viral doesn’t mean it’s not successful.  It’s just not viral.

I’m not saying any of this to criticize Nike or anybody else.  I don’t think they are shouting on the street corners that the video is viral.  What I am trying to do is to arm you with the ability to understand the difference between viral and just promoted-like-hell with tremendous amounts of money.

They’re not the same thing.

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    1 Comment

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