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Scott Button makes videos go viral. As a cofounder of Unruly, a London-based marketing consultancy, he helps ad agencies and brands produce and disseminate content that gets relentlessly shared. In January, Unruly unveiled a new tool, ShareRank, which draws on data from more than 300 billion video streams, thousands of consumer-panel responses and a big dose of psychology to help clients — which include T-Mobile and GoPro — to finess their campaigns before unleashing them online. It’s the latest innovation from the startup which last year tripled its sales to £17.6m.
“Everyone has had some sort of viral success,” says Button, 40. “The trick is to work out a way to make your campaign repeatable. A lot of value in advertising comes from social groups, and advertising has always sampled those water-cooler moments. Now we don’t have to track just a sample, we have access to all data about everything.”
Unruly seeds content to 1,500 bloggers and social-media partners. “Success is probably ten million views and a million shares,” he says. Bloggers get paid and Unruly collects a fee from the advertiser, depending on how widely the video is shared. Yet this isn’t cheating. “You need two things for something to go viral,” Button says. “First of all you need content that provokes enough of an emotional response, and, second, you need that initial audience access. We give it that kick-start. You can’t just put your brand on 4Chan and sit back. That’s a horrible place to be.”
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