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Viral marketing on the wane

Viral marketing on the wane

Viral marketing efforts have failed to effectively reach the mass audiences advertisers had anticipated.

Despite the growing popularity of such social media sites as MySpace and You Tube, viral marketing campaigns are consistently proving ineffective in delivering and sustaining a brand over time, due mainly to misdirected tactics.

These findings are outlined in a new report published by JupiterResearch, "Viral Marketing: Bringing the Message to the Masses", and indicate only 15 percent achieved the goal of prompting consumers to promote their messages for them in the past year.

Although targeting influential users was the most popular technique to stimulate viral behaviour, viral marketers plan to decrease use of this tactic by 55 per cent within the next year.

While social media sites eliciting user generated content would seem to provide a perfect vehicle for viral marketing campaigns, those initiating the campaigns must dig deeper to understand the tendencies of the appropriate audiences.

Analyst at JupiterResearch, Emily Riley, said, "Viral marketers often send one campaign to all influentials.

"Different influential groups not only respond very differently to advertising campaigns, but also influence others in very different ways."

Relatively older online users are actually more likely than are relatively younger users to forward advertising messages to friends or tell friends about ads.

Although young audiences show increased use of social sites, relatively older audiences show increased use of e-mail, watch some video, and should be absolutely incorporated into viral marketing campaigns-especially because they are the traditional target audiences for brands or products.

President of JupiterResearch, David Schatsky, added, "There are definitely pitfalls associated with the social networking sites.

“While these sites may appear to be the most effective manner of delivering a message regardless of brand appropriateness, by failing to truly understand the audience, viral marketers stand to alienate as many consumers as they interest.

He concluded, “Advertisers should be cognizant of the fact that attempts to reach outside their brand images or target demographics and only end up looking like they are trying too hard."

AJR
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