Viral Marketing Succeeds 15% of the Time

Last Updated Oct 18, 2007 5:02 AM EDT

Marketing Billboard image by 0595 [cc, 2.0]Why does viral marketing seem like such a successful tactic? Perhaps because we're only aware of the successes. JupiterResearch's Emily Riley finds that only 15% of viral messages are passed from peer to peer.

When a message hits, though, it really hits. Consider Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty -- its 75-second viral video of an average woman being dolled up for the increasingly unrealistic beauty industry netted millions of views and made it one of the Top 15 most-linked-to videos on the blogosphere.

What's even more shocking is the cost of delivery. Uploading to YouTube was free; compare that with Dove's 30-second, $2.5 million Super Bowl ad in 2006, which netted less buzz than the viral video. According to Alexa, Dove's site for the Campaign experienced a 300% spike in traffic (on top of its Super Bowl spike) -- showing that when it comes to the bottom line, successful viral marketing wins hands-over-fist.

Marketing Billboard image by 0595 [cc, 2.0]