What is Viral Marketing?

Almost every day, we come across videos and images on social platforms which are being shared like crazy and are termed viral. This viral content spreads at a massive speed and has the potential of reaching a large group of people in a short duration. Marketers these days rely immensely on the feedback of their products and focus on running campaigns which promote their consumers to share their feedback with family and friends which in turns creates brand awareness. Viral Marketing is an effective tool which enables marketers in achieving this goal. Let’s dive deep and understand what viral marketing exactly is and what it has to offer for the marketers.

What is Viral Marketing?

The term “Viral” is used for anything that spreads rapidly usually from one person to another. It refers to a customer-focused marketing strategy which involves the promotion of products and goods by existing users on social media platforms. It’s an effective medium of reaching out and attracting potential customers through content which gets viral either with word of mouth or by sharing on the internet. We tend to trust the product recommendation that comes from our friends.

Viral Marketing encourages consumers to share their feedback on social platforms.  Social media platforms serve as the perfect venue for the messages to get viral due to their ease of access and sharing the content.

How does a viral campaign work?

A viral marketing campaign is very simple to execute: It is to create a video or other content that is attractive to the target, and hang it on the Internet and plan the first actions to give it out. From there, it only remains to wait for the wick to start and users begin to share it like crazy. Sometimes, virality occurs by accident, from a video uploaded by a particular user that suddenly becomes popular and begins to circulate across the width and length of the Internet.

Regarding the strategy of dissemination of videos created by brands, we have two main focuses: the perceived or the hidden. In the first case, the user is clear from the beginning that he is viewing advertising content, while in the second the participation of the brand is covered and only revealed later. If you use hidden marketing techniques, it is essential to walk with feet of lead so that the user can not feel cheated, cheated or disappointed, since the viral campaign could turn against us.

Whatever the chosen strategy, we should never spam or saturate by spreading the content. Instead of repeating messages once and again, the best strategy is to find the right place and time and let the “viral spark” turn on by itself.

Key factors that contribute to a successful viral campaign:

  • It is vital to understand the target audience and their demographic location.
  • Once the audience is identified,  marketers should focus on creating the content which is most likely to encourage users to share the feedback on their Social handle
  • Focus on creating specific content as per the Interest of audience group.

Viral marketing was first introduced an American media critic Douglas Rushkoff in his book ” Media ” which was published in 1994.

Advantages of viral marketing:

  1. Easily Affordable: Marketers doesn’t need to worry about allocating a large sum of money to run viral marketing campaigns. Such campaigns are more dependent on the existing customers who work as promoters on behalf of the brands. So,  there isn’t any requirement of buying ad space inventory which saves the budget for the brands.
  2. Enhanced reach: Social media platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook have an enormous user base.  Anything that’s shared on it has the potential of reaching a large group of people. This helps in creating awareness about the brand and its products.
  3. Creates branding: With greater reach, it provides an opportunity for marketers to create brand awareness and increase the potential sale of the products.  Once a message or video gets viral on any of the social platforms there is no stopping. It gets shared globally bringing huge benefits for the brands.
  4. It is not invasiveIn viral marketing, the decision to participate and share is always the user’s, so it is not perceived as invasive advertising. In this way, brand perception and interaction benefit from the most classic advertising campaigns.

Examples of viral marketing:

Hotmail: The success of web-based email service which got launched in 1996 can be attributed a lot to viral marketing. On every email which was sent out by the users, Hotmail sent a link for the receiver to join the Hotmail account for free.

ALS Ice water bucket challenge went viral among the masses. The motive behind the campaign was to create awareness about the ALS disease. Even the celebrities around the world participated in it. Around 2.4 million tagged videos were circulated on Facebook.

Kee-kee: The most recent viral videos is the Kee-Kee challenge which saw people uploading their dance videos on Facebook and Instagram. People went crazy and shot videos by getting down from moving the car and doing their dance moves while the car keeps crawling.

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