Viral Marketing

What is Viral Marketing?

Advertising messages that spread rapidly are called viral marketing. They spread within a very short time through various marketing channels, such as social media. Viral marketing is also referred to as the “word of mouth” of the Internet. In viral marketing campaigns, the user becomes a voluntary carrier in spreading the advertising message by sharing the content. Often, the focus of this type of marketing is not on a clear message, but on spreading and publicizing a brand or social issue. To start viral marketing campaigns, online marketing channels such as:

What are the goals of viral marketing?

The goal of viral marketing is to “infect” as many people as possible with the advertising message within the shortest possible time, i.e. to reach them. The users should be enthusiastic about the advertised brands or products. This leads to them passing the message on to their family and friends of their own accord. In this way, the user goes from being a passive recipient to an active spreading of the “virus”, which can generate even more enthusiastic leads. This increases the reach and target group very quickly. As you can see, the principle of viral marketing is very different from the classic advertising measures such as print media, ads or Google campaigns.

How to make your viral marketing campaign successful?

Many viral marketing campaigns are not self-propelling. It requires clear conception, planning and strategic execution, just like any other campaign. To ensure that your marketing campaign is really successful virally, you should consider these factors:

The idea

Your idea should be as unique and creative as possible. It forms the basis for your campaign. It must be worthwhile for the user to report on it. So there should definitely be an added value. Sometimes it is even enough to put a “bait” with the advertising message and not to focus on the brand or the product. Emotionality is also often an important factor that ensures that people talk about your campaign.

The goal

Define a goal for the campaign and proceed in a structured way to achieve it. Choose your first multipliers and channels for dissemination.

The distribution

Choose the distribution options as simple as possible. In the social networks, this can be done through likes or shares. Images, graphics and videos can be integrated very easily here and the distribution of these also succeeds the users with a few clicks.

The added value

To motivate users to share your content, you can create added value with the help of a competition, for example. Providing information that serves to educate about certain topics can also be the ideal added value for your campaign. Content that reaches your users or viewers on an emotional basis is often virally successful.
How successful your campaign is, you can evaluate via web analytics tools such as Google Analytics. However, this requires that you have counting links in use. This type of links lets you evaluate how many users have clicked on the link via Google Analytics. The popular social media channels also have their own monitoring tools, which can help you with the evaluation.

The advantages and disadvantages of viral marketing

As with almost everything, there are sunny and dark sides to this form of marketing. To give you a better overview, we have listed some pros and cons here.

Low cost input, since the users take over the distribution free of charge  No complete control of the campaign possible
When recommendations are made by trusted people or influencers, more attention is given to the contentIf the message is perceived negatively, this can damage the image of the company

Better visibility of the company and the brandMeasuring success is often difficult and only possible with a great deal of research using various tools.
The advertising message can spread across the Internet and be shared by users in no time at all 

Successful examples of viral marketing

Especially in this form of marketing, images and videos play a very important role. Users react more strongly to visual influences than to text. The most famous viral marketing campaigns have also used videos:

Videos are demonstrably quicker for users to grasp and therefore remain longer in the memory.

Another great example of viral marketing is GotBag’s sweepstakes campaign. Here, the sustainable company relies entirely on social media and influencers and does without elaborate video clips. With the raffle of a van, Got Bag hits the nerve of the time and ensures that their awareness and reach increases rapidly within a very short time. In just one day, the company managed to collect 200,000 new subscribers for its Instagram channel.

The image shows the viral Instagram sweepstakes campaign of Got Bag
Screenshot of Got Bag’sviral sweepstakes campaign on Instagram.

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