Wk 10 – Not so…Dumb ways to go viral

“Set fire to your hair…poke a stick at a grizzly bear…Dumb ways to die, so many dumb ways to die…”

I remember so clearly being in 8th grade at my school on the Gold Coast, QLD singing this iconic song. Little did I know at the time that this song was actually part of an advertising campaign for safety on public transport in VICTORIA!!!

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The dumb ways to die campaign launched in 2012 has been considered the 12th best campaign of the 21st century. However it was questioned as to how effective it actually was in keeping Victorians safer on public transport. Now don’t get me wrong the virality of this campaign was enormous, it not only reached the Victorian population but as stated earlier it reached myself as a 14 year old girl living on the Gold Coast who had never even been to Victoria let alone been on public transport.

The campaign had 4 primary objectives:

  1. Increase public awareness and engagement with rail safety
  2. Generate PR, buzz and sharing around our message about rail safety.
  3. Invite a commitment to be safe .
  4. See a reduction of near misses and accidents at level crossings and station platforms over 12 months by 10 per cent.

However in the end PTV declared that they did not have sufficient data to provide us with a benchmark

prior to this campaign and hence were unable to measure KPIs accurately. This campaign was designed to set measurable objectives in terms of awareness & engagement yet it mostly just promoted a catchy theme song which most people couldn’t or didn’t even relate back to PTV. PTV lost control of their own campaign and instead of setting awareness to public transport users the whole campaign just developed into a song and eventually a app game that parents disliked their children playing due to its violence such as cartoon caracter dieing in rediculous ways.

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Ever since the dawn of social networks in the early 2000s, marketers have been attempting to create curious online advertisements that people would be inclined to share and potentially go viral. But for so many businesses this is where they go wrong or lose control as many businesses still don’t understand that you can’t just make something go viral because in this new era of media it is often the audience that defines something as popular not the developer and for many things that go viral it is often released years before it even becomes popular. As Kevin Allocca mentions in his TED talk, virality is done through three steps, Tastemakers, who first discover the thing worth sharing, Participation, the people who follow on and participate in the sharing of content and unexpectedness, the fact that virality cannot be planned.

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Social media marketing and virality is a high risk high reward kind of marketing scheme. This is because there is a high risk that your campaign will either not take off because its not worth sharing or that people won’t understand the underlying (like the Dumb ways to Die campaign which went viral but for all the wrong reasons). However viral marketing has high reward due to the fact that if your campaign does take off an become viral there is a high chance that it will reach a large consumer audience and be beneficial to your brand and image.

Can you think of any campaigns that tried to use viral marketing but either it didn’t work, did work or worked for the wrong reasons? Tell me a bit about it in the COMMENTS BELOW and give me your opinion on businesses relying of viral marketing to become known or popular!!

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Week 9: Are you SEO-rious

Say goodbye to the days of dictionaries, encyclopedia’s, the yellow pages and walking into places like flight centre to find the cheapest flights at the right times. We now have almost all the information to perfectly answer our questions right at our finger tips.

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Soo what is all the hype about SEO? How relevant is it? Is it as relevant as The Kardashians/Jenners? Keep reading!

SEO stands for search engine optimization and according to the SEO industry report 2017 an increasing number of companies big and small are taking the ability of SEO marketing incredibly seriously. Businesses are asking the question; “Why create intrusive push strategy marketing such as banner ads when we can do it organically through the pull strategy of SEO marketing?”

However the antics of SEO marketing is still hard for some  businesses to understand and master, even I had difficulty trying to understand how it really works before writing this blog. Summed up SEO marketing refers to “a structured approach that is used to increase the position of a company or its products in search engine natural or organic listings for selected keywords or phrases” 

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Having said this some businesses choose to cheat or manipulate the system by using “black hat” tactics which involves pre-planned hidden content such as spam links, link farming, cloaking, keyword stuffing and many more, which served no relevancy to both the website and the user/searcher but inorganically boost the company’s ratings online giving them more credential than they actually deserve. If you ask me, companies should just stick to stuffing junk mail in a mailbox and spoon feeding content to customers since they arnt really giving people organic searched content that they really want.

However thanks to google for relaeasing updates and the digital transformation happening 24/7 the fight against this decptive form of SEO marketing slowly dying and becoming harder to get away with…hasn’t quite stopped some companies from dipping their toes in the water.

So, how do we keep up? Let’s take the Kardashians for instance, it is no secret that businesses have taken the Kardashian’s famous content-pulling and personal branding influence online into consideration to improve their own brand image. We can look at this through Kim K’s Instagram account: it’s eye-catching, somewhat relevant to her fans and customers, bold, collaborative (other famous celebrities and models) and is all  true to herself, well from what she wants us to think… SEO tactics should use these examples and implement them effectively as keywords, content quality, site performance/user experience and organic inbound links that are useful and appropriate, not Kim K appropriate but professionally appropriate, ha!

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Food for thought: Ever had an instagram account, or seen someone with an instagram account who has uploaded a photo then thrown a whole heap of irrelevant tags on it to increase your/their likes. In the short term it looks good because it makes you/them look popular, but in the long run you don’t gain any permanent followers and you don’t gain any more likes for future posts. I’ve seen it done multiple times and it’s especially funny when a post receives 500 likes but the account only has 100 followers.  Is this any different from SEO Black hat tatics? Leave your comment below!!

Week 6: A Typical Mobile User’s Ritual

Ding, Ding, Ding your alarm goes off for the first time. 5 minutes later, Ding, Ding, Ding your alarm goes off for the second time, set 30 minutes earlier than you need to wake up. You roll to the side and reach under your pillow and grab your phone. You first flick through your notifications and open anything important to you, reply to messages and maybe check your schedule for the day. You then, scroll aimlessly through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you watch people’s snapchat stories from the night before. By this time you have to get up for university. You use your phone to check your timetable then use an app to see when the next public transport or uber can take you to were you need to be. On the way you want a snack and you use your phone to check your bank balance and then use google/apple pay to buy your items. On your way you see an advert to download an app to get discounts on your favourite stores. Several times throughout the day you repeat this process. You get the picture, it’s the same picture for most mobile device users and it’s becoming more prominent every day.

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A study found that 44% of mobile users sleep with their phone next to or under their pillow showing a strong reliance on these tech devices. I know I do and I wouldn’t be surprised if all of you reading this did the same.  As shown by the graph mobile reliance is increasing more rapidly than ever before meaning the opportunity for mobile marketing is increasing. When done right, mobile marketing provides customers or potential customers using smartphones with personalized, time- and location-sensitive information so that they can get what they need exactly when they need it, even if they’re on the go.

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A study has found that 80% of mobile device time is spent on apps. This means that us as marketers need to get creative with in app marketing or we could just create a whole new app in itself. I like to draw on Boost Juice here for an example of this, one company which was able to utilise mobile marketing so well that they became part of my daily ritual you all are so familiar with…

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Have you ever done speed dating, probably not. But something I have done is speed dating with Boost fruits. A few years ago Boost came up with the idea of getting customer’s to “hit on” or date on social media with their Boost fruits. They named it “Boost Matcha” a campaign which allowed customers to enter the draw of winning a trip to japan. The campaign characterised each of their Boost fruits to match certain customers and personalised marketing towards them through a type of dating scenario. This meant that people had to message and talk to their Boost fruit partner via Facebook everyday which would reward them with vouchers to use in store or the chance to win a trip to japan. It was a fun, creative and engaging way to promote their brand and people actually wanted to get involved. As I mentioned earlier my daily ritual was often to wake up and read my important notifications first. It’s easy to say that Boost won in their marketing strategy when the first thing I would look for on my phone was too see if my virtual “mango” lover had messaged me overnight on Facebook to see if I could get a free boost juice for the day. Of course all of this was automated but the strategy was there and soon not just myself but people sitting next to me on the tram were also messaging their virtual fruit lover until the marketing strategy of Boost became viral, and people were engaging with the brand everywhere at every opportunity through an indirect messaging system, disguised as a form of online dating.

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Now if that’s not creative, I don’t know what is.
Leave your comments below and let me know of other brands who came up with something totally bizarre, crazy or wild mobile marketing scheme that actually worked.

 

Week 5: Six Degrees of Seperation

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Did you know that by merely 5 chain acquaintances you are connected to anyone in the world. You’re favorite movie star, a famous singer, the president of America. They call this the six degrees of separation, the theory that everyone in this world is connected to anyone in this world through 6 chain links between people. So how does this relate to virality and how a chain between people can make one video, post or photo go global.

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According to Facebook the six degrees of separation is in fact only 3 or 4 these days due to new era technology, communication and interconnectivity. The theory of 6 degrees of separation has been tested many times using the same method; the postal system. Someone would write a letter to someone with an address in another country, this letter would be posted from one person to another with the idea that someone would know someone who might know someone who lives near the person who the letter needs to be delivered too and would be able to deliver it. Data found that 50% of the letters were able to be delivered to the selected person with only 3 links between people. If this can be done through the postal system with physical letters imagine what the internet is doing and what happens when one person likes, comments, tags or shares a post among their friends. With the logic of 6 degrees of separation if everyone in this world had Facebook and one person shared a post to all their friends, then all those friends shared the same post with all their friends and so on it would only take 6 times for this to happen for the video to reach the entire population of the world. Now that’s mind blowing.

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The way in which things go viral these days is astounding. The invention of smart devices which can carry the internet and all things interconnected has allowed for people to share ideas with ease reaching a larger audience quickly. It’s amazing how people use the ability to share things online to reach a greater audience. Recently I was involved in a case where a friend was suffering from cancer and couldn’t afford the treatment. Her family chose to set up a go fund me account to raise funds for her treatment. The first few days funds came in quickly as people were emotionally encouraged to share the content of this girls go fund me page. The funding then slowly died down, until she received a rather large fund from a rather famous person, Ed Sheeran, who came across the go fund me page and decided to donate to her while he was on tour in Australia earlier this year. He was so moved by her story that he even wanted to meet her while he was in Australia. Stories like this just prove to you that the six degree’s of separation is a real theory which affects each and every person. So when you think to yourself no I will never meet my idol…think again, their presence in your life is only six degrees away, which really isn’t that far.

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Comment below your thoughts on the six degrees of separation and any experiences you have had with it where you were connected to someone in this world through a friend or even a friend of a friend. Or just let me know what you think of interconnectivity and how social media sites like Facebook allow for things to go viral. I’d love to hear from you!!

Week 3: The Price of Free

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Who doesn’t love free stuff?

I know I do and lucky for me free is the new way for online businesses. The question is how are these businesses making money if what they are offering is free? Which I then wonder, am I really that lucky or is all this free stuff just making me want more. The answer to this is best explained by Venture capitalist Fred Wilson who popularized the term “freemium” after exploring “freeconomics“.

Currently for online businesses there is a lot of discussion about how online content should be monetized. Turn back the clock 30 years, and the idea of giving your product away for free was almost unheard of. However, the “freemium” business model, a cross between free and premium,  is gaining more and more attention due to its success and businesses from drop box to New York Times to Spotify are all adopting this strategy to make money. It has particularly become popular with many online service and software companies who aim to acquire mass users with a free offer but then charge for a better version in hopes of subsidizing the free usage. So how does it really work and why would anyone pay more if what they are getting is already free?

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Before online businesses, companies have previously tried to protect price by offering something for free rather than discounted. For example, cosmetic companies will protect the price or value of their item by offering a free gift with a purchase rather than discounting the item itself and diminishing it’s worth. However, products and services offered for free aren’t really free; they’re just paid for in another way. Cross-subsidies have always been a common selling strategy among business. Two very known examples are Gillette’s move  to sell razors cheaply to create demand for expensive blades similarly printer makers adopted the same strategy by making the printer cheap and the supplies more costly. So for online business using the freemium model the strategy is to offer customers the full service so they can get an idea for how it works and then offer the more premium parts at a cost. This has been described by some as window shopping for example dating sites allow you to see people on the sight and allows you to see when someone has messaged you but to actually view and read the message you have to pay. This allows for the most dedicated, serious and frequent users to use the site to its full potential similar to how a person window shopping may actually choose to walk into the store and purchase something rather than just browse. For this reason also, businesses who utilise a freemium model are likely to have a higher retention rate of customers.

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There are still implications of a “freemium” model!

Despite it working for many, many businesses are unable to make this business model work for them and this has a lot to do with deciding what should be free and what should be paid for and many businesses get it wrong. Some believe that 90% of the online service should be free and only 10% should be paid. So how do you decide what should be paid. Well, if you look at the original purpose of a freemium product it is to attract customers with the idea of “free” in mind. So if a business isn’t attracting customer’s then it is potentially due to that fact that its free offerings aren’t attractive or compelling enough. Gaming apps and sites use the freemium model nearly perfectly. They allow for anyone to play the game however make revenue by gaining attention from the serious players who wish to upgrade their power in the game, which is paid for.

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One app I use most and I would imagine many of my readers also would use is Spotify. Spotify is unique as it offers all its music for free. However it’s free content comes with ads and limitations. The premium version removes these ads. Spotify is one company which utilises freemium well especially since today’s society views ads as a nuisance and would rather pay to removes them hence why “ad-block” is becoming so popular on the internet. This allows for companies like Spotify  to capitalise on this by first drawing in users with its free content and making revenue through the unavoidable ads and then capitalising by allowing dedicated customers to pay to remove the ads which are so commonly seen as a nuance and intrusion on day to day life.

Like Spotify, what are some of the successful companies you can think of which utilise the freemium business model and how do they make them viable? What freemium apps/sites do you utilise? I’d love to hear from you!