Viral Marketing

Viral Marketing

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Viral Marketing

  • Involves a message or a communication that spreads like virus
  • A rapidly extending chain of communicators
  • Gmail ID or a Hotmail account creation are examples of Viral Marketing.


  • To Go Viral: to spread rapidly through peer references; the rate of hits/views rises exponentially; viral posts/videos are typically viewed more than 100,000 times.
  • Viral Videos:  online video clips that gain widespread popularity when they are passed from person to person via email, instant messages, and media-sharing Websites.
  • Viral marketing: has emerged as the electronic form of WoM and involves the principle of passing on or referring news, information or entertainment to another person.
  • Word of Mouth (WOM): offline and online person-to-person communication.

Guerrilla Marketing

  • Promotional activities  on very low budget

Stealth\Undercover Marketing

  • Consumers unaware of being marketed to

Product Placement Marketing

  • Commercial product used in media Ex: movies, books etc.


  • More effective per $ spent
  • Lower costs
  • Researching and listening to consumer feedback
  • A customer is the greatest endorsement
  • Giving customers a voice – People like fun information they can spread on.
  • Stronger message from someone you trust.
  • WOM won’t go far for bad quality products.
  • Creating communities and connecting people.

What Makes Online Content Viral?

  • Emotion shapes virality. Content that evokes high-arousal positive (awe) or negative (anger or anxiety) emotions is more viral. Content that evokes low-arousal, or deactivating, emotions (e.g., sadness) is less viral.
  • Activation drives social transmission (when a story evoked more sadness, it decreased arousal, which in turn decreased transmission).
  • More emotional, positive, interesting, and anger-inducing and fewer sadness-inducing stories are likely to make the most blogged list.

For Video:

Criteria used to predict the success of TV ads can also be used – with some adaptation – to predict online virality:

  • enjoyment, involvement, branding
  • distinctiveness
  • celebrity popularity
  • likelihood to forward (‘buzz’)
    • has LEGS: Laugh-out-loud funny, Edgy, Gripping or Sexy (Nealon, 2007)

Strategies Viral Marketing

  • Use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube etc.
  • Word of mouth: hearing what’s popular from people around you.
  • Participation (Burgess, 2008): users participate by commenting, sharing, ‘favouriting’, making ‘mashups’ or their own versions
    • Encourages people to pass on a message
    • Depends on a high pass along rate from person to person
    • Motivators:
      • entertainment: fun, humour, games, quizzes, videos, songs
      • greed: sweepstake entries, free offers
      • charity: help an organization, sign petitions
  • Methods: face-to-face communication, phone conversations, text/instant/e-mail messages, blogs, threads

Other Strategies

First, get 50,000 views to get on the Daily Most-Viewed’ page:

  • pay people with relevant blogs to link to the video
  • create fake conversations (forums) around the video
  • embed videos directly into the pages of MySpace users
  • create and exploit an extensive Facebook presence
  • use email and friends network

Then, to reach 100,000+ views:

  • Focus on making title and thumbnail attractive
  • Release all videos in a campaign simultaneously, then use unique tags to get only the other videos in the campaign appear in the Related Videos box.

Example of Viral Marketing:

  • An “energy” drink, $2 (8.3 oz.), 80 mg of caffeine.
  • It doesn’t taste very good.
  • Yet Red Bull has a 70 to 90 percent market share in over 100 countries worldwide.
  • Its contents are not patented – all the ingredients are listed on the outside of the slim silver can.
  • In 2004, 700 million cans were sold in the U.S. i.e. 47% share of the energy drink market.
  • Red Bull sponsors some 500 athletes worldwide.

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