What Did We Learn from the Ice Bucket Challenge from a Marketing Perspective

7 replies
So now that the ice bucket challenge craze has died down, and we've had a few minutes to not be frightened by every video we see of our friends and family pouring water on their heads lest they say our names, it's time to analyze the social phenomenon.

As any successful internet marketer can tell you, everything that happens on social media is related to marketing, whether we choose to see it or not. So even if you think the ice bucket challenge has nothing to do with how you make your living, think again.

Here are some key points to take away from the ice bucket challenge while you're setting up your next social media marketing campaign. These tips will help you achieve a higher level of virality, though probably not as high as seeing Hollywood's celebrities dump your product over their heads!

Low Participation Barriers are Key

People want to participate in online challenges and events. They want to be part of the trend and they don't want to have to buy any crazy ingredients to do so. What was so brilliant about the ice bucket challenge? It took ice, water, a bucket and a camera to participate.

It's safe to assume that the population of people who frequent social media has access to ice and water free of charge. It's also fairly likely that they have a bucket around. And a camera? Name the last phone you saw that didn't have a video camera.

Takeaway: If you want people to participate in your social media marketing campaign, make it easy for them to do so. The less friction there is between initial contact and participation, the more people will engage. Throw in some forms to fill out, specific sites to upload the videos to or an entry fee and the ice bucket challenge is a failure.

Self-Promoting Mechanisms Work via Social Invitations

The "challenge" aspect of the ice bucket event was brilliant. This plays right into peer pressure, with your friends and family looking "directly" at you from the camera and calling your name out.

To drive the point home, they tag you in their post and everyone knows that you've been called out. You have to respond or you're a horrible person who wants people to die! (Okay, not really, but that's how it seems!)

Takeaway: Any marketing campaign where people are sharing the idea of their own free will, directly with other people is a winner. You don't have to do anything to spread the campaign; it does it on its own.

Keep in mind that the ice bucket challenge was initially only a three-person challenge, meaning you aren't calling out a whole crowd of people.

This makes it much harder to "hide" or get lost in a sea of tagged names. You're in the spotlight and you must perform (or be shamed on social media), thus spreading the campaign once again.

Pay Attention to the Time Frame

There are two interesting factors built into the ice bucket challenge that have to do with time, both of which play directly into the success of the campaign. First, the urgency that is created through the issuing of the challenge, you have 24 hours to complete the challenge or you have to donate $100 to ALS.

Now, forgetting the fact that people are dumping ice water over their head to avoid donating money to a good cause, focus on the fact that a deadline for action has been set, urgency created.

Second, think about how short these videos are, 60 seconds was the longest one I saw and that was from a self-professed camera hog. Keep the content short and fun (yes, I do want to see some of my family members drenched in water and screaming, call me sadistic) and you'll be successful.

Takeaway: Timing is important in that you:

1) Create a sense of urgency by building in a timetable during which the participants must act or face consequences AND

2) Keep the campaign short, sweet and fun.
#bucket #challenge #ice #learn #marketing #perspective
  • Profile picture of the author DaleRodge
    Nice post, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Pay Attention to the Time Frame
    Just expanding this point, or rather moving onto another one closely related...

    One of my top marketing tips is to never give the visitor chance to think, wherever there's a point they might think you need to quickly bounce another idea of them. The only time they should have time to think anything negative about the service is whilst they're waiting for their credit card details to finish submitting.
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  • Profile picture of the author ebooksmaster
    That is a nice dissection of ice bucket challenge.
    As i look upon you as a authority in viral marketing,
    I Hope you wont mind me asking a question that is related to my niche only...
    I am in a Embarassing Product niche.How can i take advantage of social media?
    Lets say i create a Herpes cure Fanpage...I dont see anyone liking my page and letting their friends know that they have herpes.?Is there any way around to market my niche in social media?
    Signature
    Free consultation about Monetizing your Website ! Onlinewebsiteconsultant.com
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    • Profile picture of the author rhinocl
      The question I have is how this challenge could have been altered to produce more contributions?
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    • Profile picture of the author HostZealot
      I wanted to offer you a possible solution.
      Actually, everybody gets herpes eventually, it's like flu - you catch it nearly every year and can't do anything with it. Herpes is not always venereal, you know.
      If you can find 3 hotties that will smile on camera (wearing bikinis preferably) and proclaim that they had herpes once, yet your product helped them to get rid of it. And they should ask - "Are you brave enough to acknowledge that you have herpes?" - and name their 3 friends - EVERYBODY HAD HERPES AT LEAST ONCE.

      The hardest part here is finding three attractive people willing to participate... Then this thing can go viral on FB and twitter and other social media
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  • Profile picture of the author vtotheyouknow
    Big takeaway for me was how eagerly people embrace attention whoring if they're given permission under the banner of a good cause.

    If you can find a way to legitimize peoples' desire to be seen and admired and make your product or service the vehicle for that to happen, you've got yourself a free viral growth engine.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mary Davis
    Great post! I love great takeaways and insight from new marketing campaigns. Thanks for sharing your observations!

    My takeaway is how it took on a secondary challenge of having to re-create and re-fresh the challenge to do it in new and inventive ways that helped you stand out from the crowd. That unto itself was another sociological subset I enjoyed watching during the process.

    [P.S.- Also send you a PM regarding your post.]
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    • Profile picture of the author ioan draniciar
      Thank you for your kind words and your effort to improve the Warrior forum. If the Warrior forum had a mechanism for social sharing of individual posts, this article would get the audience it deserves.

      I'd like to thank you all for your valuable input.

      Originally Posted by Mary Davis View Post

      Great post! I love great takeaways and insight from new marketing campaigns. Thanks for sharing your observations!

      My takeaway is how it took on a secondary challenge of having to re-create and re-fresh the challenge to do it in new and inventive ways that helped you stand out from the crowd. That unto itself was another sociological subset I enjoyed watching during the process.

      [P.S.- Also send you a PM regarding your post.]
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