But, ultimately virals must be evaluated in terms of their individual strategic purposes. What is the target market? What is the competitive frame? What is the strategic message argument?
This point is well demonstrated by a new viral for Samsung computer drives. The viral shows how to make "the world's most powerful consumer computer."
The Web is of course rich with the members of the target market for the featured Samsung computer drive. And, the narrative of this viral exudes the core values and outlook of the target group.
Storytelling, actors, setting, and music, all are presented in a manner that draws us in and holds our continuing interest. We concentrate our attention and "elaborate" the message argument in the classic terms of the Elaboration Likelihood Model of attitude formation.
Viewers are also placed in a good mood, activating "attitude toward the ad" as well as our receptiveness to new information.
Students in the auditorium for my Psychology of Advertising class let out a bit of a gasp when they saw the computer load all the MS Office programs in a half a second. "Wows"were heard when the computer quickly loaded over 50 programs. There were whoops when the computer transferred a huge DVD file faster than the DVD could be tossed out the window.
I think there is a way to evaluate virals: Ask who the viral is intended for, and did the viral engage that audience in "active processing" concerning a strategic message argument? That's the way to do it.
Aggregate reach is interesting, but in the end it comes down to "engaging the relevant audience in active processing of a strategic message argument."