What is viral marketing: the Ultimate Guide


Viral Marketing is marketing tactics. Where products and services of a brand get promoted through word-of-mouth. The goal of such marketing is to let marketing messages spread to family and friends. Such messages spread through the internet and social media platforms. The messages are in form of memes, shares, likes, and other such elements. It is a cost-effective marketing strategy. It has a great potential to increase the customer base. For example, content seeding allows brands to highlight their content in places target audiences will see and engage with it.

Understanding viral marketing:

In viral marketing, the content inspires the reader to share the message. Such content should be engaging to increase brand visibility. Viral marketing amplifies the power of peer recommendations using digital channels. The messages get shared from one person to another through online campaigns.

The motive of viral marketing is that the user chooses to share the content. Social media channels have the potential to help to share viral content. Viral content includes funny/ unique videos, emotional videos, and much more. You may find such content on social media channels like YouTube, and Facebook among others. They spread very fast. Such messages can sometimes get misinterpreted by the reader. So always be very careful while creating such viral content. By the way, before going to work on viral marketing, you should have great strength and bandwidth of your website, there are many web hosting companies available right now, which help effectively to manage the website load and bandwidth.

Advantages of Viral Marketing:

  • Cost-effective: Once you create a campaign, give it a little push like paid promotions. Such campaigns will then be reachable to a huge audience. Your audience will then share your content free of cost. Viral campaigns lead to brand awareness. It can expand your customer base without much effort or revenue. Several marketing tools for startups are currently available in the market, which you can use effectively to reduce the cost.  
  • Grows the business faster: Viral marketing helps an existing business reach sky high. It is a quicker way of spreading messages. Viral marketing is a convenient cost-effective way of raising any business in less time. It can assure exponential growth in a short period. 
  • Promotes lead generation: Viral marketing can generate leads for the brand. This is because viral content shares very fast among a crowd and becomes popular in no time. Your connections, conversion rates, and media visibility also increase. People get inclined towards trending topics. This inclination is what generates your lead.
  • Significant brand exposure: Brand exposure helps the brand gets recognized by a huge mass. The power of marketing lies in the hands of the audience. Viral marketing lets media outlets cover your brand without your efforts. Mainstream media coverage creates the brand’s virality.
  • Increase reliability: Brand recognition builds trust in the minds of your audience. Ongoing viral, more audience get attracted to your brand. So design a good viral marketing strategy to earn higher benefits.

Examples of viral marketing:

  • iPhone X- During the launch of the iPhone X, Apple came up with a brilliant campaign named “Selfies on iPhone X”. This became a viral marketing strategy as users started using their iPhones to click selfies. This helped them discover the iPhone’s key features like the Portrait lighting effect. They also discovered the True depth camera of the phone. This helped in increasing sales of the product. The message also spread among enthusiasts about its brilliant features.
  • Zoom virtual background challenge- The Zoom came up with a ‘Virtual Background Competition’. It introduced the competition for remote workers. The participants could share videos or pictures using zoom’s virtual background feature. The competition gave away three prizes per month. The campaign brought new people to Zoom and got them to explore different features of the brand.
  • L’Oreal- The brand used the tagline ‘Because you are worth it to focus on its target audience. In 2016, the brand launched a marketing campaign called ‘Worth saying’. This campaign aimed at encouraging women to discuss their relevant issues. The campaign became one of the biggest viral marketing examples in the brand’s history. 
  • Dove- Dove created a campaign named “real beauty sketches” in 2004. The brand came up with this campaign to let women know that they are more beautiful than they think. The campaign had a video where an artist draws two sketches of a woman. One sketch that she help him to create and another described by someone else. The video campaign gained huge popularity by inducing a sense of confidence within the viewers. The campaign used real women rather than models in their ads.
  • Twitter- The startup company negotiated with organizers to set up huge screens around the venue. The real-time attendees participated in the campaign and promoted the brand. Twitter gained a new reputation and new subscribers.
  • Uber- The company offered free rides to the attendees during the South by South-West fest. This created a huge social media sensation. People get delighted with the free services. The company targeted the right people at the right time.
  • Spotify- The startup company provides audio streaming and media services. It began the free services for UK customers. In 2011, the company co-marketed with Facebook to solidify its position. Spotify now has 165 million premium subscribers worldwide. It is available in more than 15 countries. The collaboration of Spotify with Facebook made the campaign go viral.

Viral marketing techniques:

  • Grab their attention- In today’s digital world, customers get to see loads of content over the internet. To grab their attention, you have to stand out from the crowd. Your campaign should be unique and interesting to grab their attention. Include a visual element in your digital marketing strategy. Your brand message should be appealing to your target audience. In 2019, the brand came up with a campaign where the image of an egg became popular on Instagram. 
  • Include CTA- Content goes viral when it engages its audiences. Your content should include a CTA that would guide the customer to take relevant action. The CTA may offer the audience to comment and create their content.
  • Target appropriate audience- A most important step in your marketing campaign should be to find the right audience. To make your content message go viral, you should send the right message to the right group of people. Marketing in the wrong channel won’t give you any reward.   
  • Keep the message simple- The message in your content should contain small sentences. Your content should have one CTA at a time. The content you want to share should be simple. To be shareable, your content should have popular hashtags. Your video content should not exceed 30 seconds.
  • Offer free products and services- “Free” is a very catchy element used by marketers. Many viral marketing strategies include free products and services. This would grab the attention of their customers. Giving away free stuff will let you gain more audiences and improve brand awareness.
  • Create emotional content- Viral marketing campaign becomes successful by using emotional appeal. Create content filled with emotions.
  • Surprise your audience- To stand out from the crowd, your campaigns should be unique. People are curious to see and learn new things. Promote your products and services in a way that would appeal to the customers.
  • Enable sharing and downloading option- Your content should be shareable and downloadable. This will enable your customers to spread them quicker. Also allow your customers to embed your content on their sites. Make your campaign messages easy to understand so that your customers can share them.
  • Fortify your content- Viral messages have a short life span and users may forget them soon. Keep an eye on the changing trends and keep updating your content as per the changes. This will keep your readers engaged. The higher the engagement, the higher will be your brand’s popularity. 


A business needs a proper marketing strategy to grow. It will help people know about your brand and the products you sell. An effective strategy will further affect the purchasing decision of the customers. Include innovative ways to promote your products and services. Take ideas from viral marketing examples and include them in your strategy. This will help your brand go viral in no time. Also, have an emotional touch in your messages.

Author Bio: Suraj Kr. Prakash is a Trainer, Growth Hacker, SEO Specialist, and WordPress Website Developer…who is empowering 10000+ readers through the “Dhandho Karo” platform in various niches such as business & marketing.

Adnan Sarpal

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