Sharethrough is a company at the cusp of new media and harnessing the power of viral video.
It has a platform that is connecting forward thinking companies wishing to utilize the reach of online video with various blogs, websites and social media platforms.
Put simply if you have a video that you want to get more exposure and views on YouTube then ShareThrough can help. It does this by getting your video on popular websites and apps to get it more exposure, for a price of course.
On the other side of the coin if you run a popular website, blog, facebook app, iPhone app etc. that could show sponsored videos to users to get more plays, then there’s the opportunity to partner with Sharethrough as an advertiser.
Does it Work?
I had the pleasure of visiting the ShareThrough offices in San Francisco where founder Dan Greenberg highlighted how the video campaigns work.
In addition to running webtvwire.com I occasionally consult on online video promotion. I was impressed with how ShareThrough works, and that it is actually effective, especially on large budget campaigns, although low budget campaigns might not see the benefit (more on this in a minute).
Examples of ShareThrough’s successful videos it has promoted on behalf of advertisers include a movie trailer, a fearlessweb video, and a Christmas themed Motorola ad. Between them they’ve had a few million views.
Sharethrough has managed to bridge the gap between those sites and apps able to give viral videos exposure, and advertisers that will pay for such exposure. Up until now it’s been difficult for a company to get guaranteed exposure for their video campaigns with a simple out of the box solution.
Hot Videos & Seeding
One of the strategies that is very important in making a video go viral is what I call ’seeding’. You plant the seeds for your video to blossom into a viral hit.
It doesn’t matter how good your video is if nobody sees it, so seeding ensures your video gets off the ground and sets the viral wheels in motion. Once a video reaches a ‘viral threshold’ it starts to get picked up by blogs, shared on Facebook, promoted on reddit and digg, emailed to friends etc. etc.
I use a variety of cost-effective techniques to ‘viralize’ a video, some of which are listed here, and using ShareThrough is one of those that could be added to the mix.
However, just to get a video off the ground you can need a lot of views. The viral threshold varies for each video depending on a few factors, namely how much people like it – the more they like it the more they share.
This can be anything from 5,000 views to 100,000 views depending on the video and where those views are from. So if your budget is limited then using ShareThrough can get expensive, and may not be effective at creating a viral hit if your budget runs short.
Prices per video play start at $0.05 for worldwide traffic, and $0.25 per play for U.S traffic. This can quickly add up with 10,000 U.S viewers costing you $2,500.
Expensive is a relative term though as it really depends on whether the campaign brings you a return on investment or not.
For a large company wishing to advertise its products and brand to a mass audience it could certainly be worthwhile, and would most likely be far more cost-effective than traditional TV advertising.
However, an independent video producer trying to get his YouTube comedy channel off the ground will seriously struggle to turn a profit. If your video is not the sort that will go truly viral then the ROI will be even lower.
My point of view on expense is slightly tainted though since I’ve run viral campaigns to generate hundreds of thousands of page views a day to my own websites, on miniscule budgets, but that is my profession.
If you compare ShareThrough to Google Adwords where traffic typically costs between $0.10 to $1.50 a click (and often higher) then the value of ShareThrough does begin to look better.
I should also mention that ShareThrough does provide tracking and statistics so you can measure how well your video campaign is doing.
ShareThrough typically works with big brands and media agencies one-to-one offering consultation as well as a video distribution service.
However, it has recently released a self service product which allows anyone to purchase video views through their system. It will only charge for the views generated through its own system, so if your video goes viral or generates views from other sources you won’t pay for those.
Be careful not to burn through lots of cash by buying thousands of views if you are not sure on the ROI of your campaign, or only have a small budget.
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