YouTube Viral Videos Are Great For Advertising

by Gio Gutierrez

In a blog post today, YouTube presents a case study on Jill Peterson and Kevin Heinz’s wedding party. The video (see below), set to R&B star Chris Brown’s hypnotic dance jam “Forever,” became an overnight sensation, gaining more than 10 million views on YouTube in less than one week. What’s happening is that most advertisers don’t want to associate themselves with user-generated videos (the bulk of YouTube), just the professionally produced videos on YouTube, Hulu, etc. and YouTube wants to change your mind. YouTube presents this as proof that advertising works on viral videos even if they are audience produced.

This traffic is also very engaged — the click-through rate (CTR) on the “JK Wedding Entrance” video is 2x the average of other Click-to-Buy overlays on the site. And this newfound interest in downloading “Forever” goes beyond the viral video itself: “JK Wedding Entrance” also appears to have influenced the official “Forever” music video, which saw its Click-to-Buy CTR increase by 2.5x in the last week.

So, what does all of this mean? Despite compelling data and studies around consumer purchasing habits, many still question the promotional and bottom-line business value sites like YouTube provide artists. But in the last week, over a year after its release, Chris Brown’s “Forever” has again rocketed up the charts, reaching as high as #4 on the iTunes singles chart and #3 on Amazon’s best selling MP3 list.

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