This study examines the relationship between the virality of marketing videos and their influence on consumer purchase intent. Social media videos, now more popular than ever as a marketing tool, are designed to go viral for the broadest reach, but the actual value of this marketing trend is unclear.
Nearly 400 viral videos for products were included in the study. Because product sales cannot be correlated directly to the virality of advertisements, the study collected survey responses from 25,000 participants who watched assigned videos and were asked about product consideration and purchase intent.
“As expected, being exposed to the video ad has a positive and significant effect on the participant’s purchase intent for that product,” which at a 6.6% increase in purchase probability affirms prior research findings (286). The ads with a below-median number of viewers were found to have the greatest lift on purchase intent.
However, the study discovered that “Ads that achieved more views were less successful at increasing purchase intent” (281). This negative relationship finding is offset to a point by the increased number of views, with the most favorable outcomes found between 3 to 4 million views. Videos with a high number of comments and a high number of product mentions were most resistant to diminishing returns, bolstering previous research that likable or visually appealing content leads to an increased overall appeal.
The findings suggest that marketing success through video should be defined more broadly than reach alone and that marketers should measure user-generated response as a more effective predictor of ad persuasiveness.
The full article can be found at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/24544963
Catherine E. Tucker (2015) The Reach and Persuasiveness of Viral Video Ads. Marketing Science 34(2):281-296. https:// doi.org/10.1287/mksc.2014.0874