Posts Tagged ‘google


Engagement vs Advertising: the key decision in your viral marketing campaign

When planning a viral campaign, you’ve got to decide on a balance between your messaging being focused on what I see as ‘Advertising’ vs ‘Engaging’. Advertising vs Engagement are not necessarily mutually exclusive measures – they fit more on a sliding scale:

1 – the pure Advertising approach jams a marketing message down consumer throats. Marketers usually feel inclined to use this sort of messaging to ensure whatever attention their (hopefully) viral campaigns get leads directly to consumption of the marketing message they are communicating. The Advertising approach means that your brand message is clear, but it may limit the reach of your viral campaign, because let’s face it, ads have never been among any of the big time viral videos. People don’t usually spread content that is obviously advertising.

2 – the Engagement approach is different in that it focuses first and foremost on the content, making sure that whatever content is featured in your (hopefully) viral campaign is clever / inspiring / controversial enough to ensure a large number of people will pass it on to others. It is about engaging some sort of emotional response from a significant enough proportion of the public to reach that viral tipping point so that you start to get hundreds of thousands of views rather than thousands. However, the greater the viral ‘infectiousness’ (i just made that word up!) of your campaign, the lower the opportunity for brand messaging and the greater the potential for confusion.

To illustrate, let’s take 2 similar viral campaigns, both based on a similar idea of creating short films to attract people to consume campaign assets. The first campaign is the recent efforts by Google, and the second being one of my alltime favourite online campaigns, Zune Arts (about 2 years old now, still going strong). The difference between the Advertising vs Engagement approach is well illustrated by these two campaigns – Google seem to have gone the ‘Advertising’ route, whilst Zune have gone the ‘Engagement’ route. Looking at some of the Google videos, the ‘short films’ are not really short film, rather they are just a nifty little ad (see example below). This is fine, but I can’t see myself passing this around to friends (except of course to discuss here why the content is not necessarily suited to a viral campaign). The content’s just not interesting enough.

The Zune Arts campaign, however, had me browsing the site for 45 minutes the first time I visited –  the content is so rich and immediately engages the audience (see the second video below for example). I’ve also been back for multiple visits, and have shown a number of other people. However, I left the site none the wiser about Zune’s product features / value proposition (I wasn’t even shown a product shot in any of the short movies). The content was cute and I liked the Zune brand all the more for providing it, but I still own an iPod…

One of the Google Chrome ‘Chrome Shorts’ vids

One of the vids

I’m interested to hear if anyone has examples of viral campaigns that they feel have struck a really strong combination of Advertising vs. Engagement. I invite you to leave your comments below…


Google Chrome Market Share slips a little whilst IE gains a little

google chromeIn an interesting snapshot of adoption rates for Internet Browsers, Google Chrome slipped 0.1% to a 0.7% share of the total Internet Browser market in mid September. This is not surprising really, as nearly all the geeks I know went straight out and downloaded Chrome as soon as the comic came out to try it. It is only natural it’s market share would see an artificial spike as people bought into the launch hype, followed by a small drop as the users who didn’t like it revert to using their preferred browser as default. As with any new product from a company the size and ubiquity of Google (and also Microsoft, at that), there was also intense scrutiny of various aspects of Chrome which didn’t help. Kinda like using Qantas’ forgetting to empty one of their toilets on a flight as proof of the airline’s safety record going down the gurgler, Google was always going to be heavily scrutinised & criticised with Chrome.

What’s interesting about the small slip in market share is that Google’s brand alone doesn’t appear to be as good a reason to consumers to use Chrome as I had previously suspected. In a world where it seems it’s PR-worthy if a Google employee has pickled eggs for lunch, I was quite certain the beta of Chrome would be much more widely adopted. However, we are not seeing this yet, perhaps because Chrome is still in beta and hasn’t really been pushed very hard yet, but more likely because it is entering a market where it’s competitors are already playing by Google rules – Google typically comes into a market and does things either (A) much better than previous competitors (think Search and Search Advertising), or (B) for free in a market where people have previously paid to consume products (think Android‘s release). Chrome sits well in Google’s strategy from a technology standpoint (they want to own the user’s experience and therefore data from start to finish, which is smart), but their grounds for competing is not as well defined with Chrome as it has been with some of their other offerings:

1 Chrome is not really a drastically different product to FF3 or IE8 beta 2 (I’ve seen the claims that it’s handling of JScript is much faster but really this difference is currently negligible in day to day use of Chrome – at any rate, it’s not a compelling enough point of difference for most end users to switch just yet.

2 Browsers have always been free,

So Google’s 2 traditional basis for competing have been removed… the question is, then, how will Google make Chrome seem different and attractive enough for people to actually take the time and effort to download, install and get used to it when their current browsers are doing the job just fine? Will they clone the IE strategy of Browser Wars 1 and make sure every laptop, ultramobile PC, Mac, desktop, server and mobile phone that ships come pre-installed with Chrome? Or can they create a sufficiently different beast after beta release to spur people to make the switch to chrome and stay there (Google has a pretty fuzzy notion of what exactly constitutes a ‘beta’ release, as Gmail has been in beta release stage since April 1st, 2004 – see below snippet taken from gmail earlier today 🙂 )image



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