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Learning the Value of Viral Marketing

Learning the Value of Viral Marketing

Article by Stanley Quinn

Learning the Value of Viral Marketing

Surely in today’s age of social media and Web 2.0, you have heard the phrase “going viral.” What does it mean for something to “go viral,” and why is this such a coveted state for a marketing campaign to reach? Let us explore these questions.

When something becomes “viral” online, it means it is getting passed around from one person to another organically (without payment or other prompting). Basically it means that something has so effectively captured the audience’s mind that they feel compelled to share it with friends, family, colleagues, and other peers.

Initially, the types of content that went viral were things like funny email messages or entertaining online videos. Advertisers began to see there was value in having content forwarded from one person to another, and they began to craft ad campaigns and marketing materials with the express intent of gaining viral status. But what is that value?

Well, the main benefit of viral marketing is that after you spend money initially developing the campaign, customers take over and start promoting your message for you. So you begin to get free distribution of your content, your coupon, or whatever your message is. This additional exposure extends the value of your marketing dollar far beyond your initial investment. You could wind up with millions of people seeing your message just through viral distribution.

Additionally, consumers view content that comes from their peers differently than content that comes from an advertiser. Today’s consumer is much more savvy and more skeptical of advertising. As such they may be less likely to believe your message. But when they view something that comes from a friend or family member, there’s an additional layer of credibility that comes along with it. They are viewing it as having a trusted friend’s endorsement, which carries more weight. And they’re more likely to be receptive of the content of your message, rather than filtering it out automatically as advertising.

Another thing that is great about viral advertising is that rather than buying expensive tv commercial time to promote your message, you could simply upload a video to YouTube free of charge in order to start the process. If you can get the right people to view the video, and it is of high quality, soon it will be passed from one person to the next, and you can get twice the exposure you would have by buying a commercial and you can get it with additional credibility attached to it.

Of course viral content does not have to be in the form of a video. Email applications and Facebook applications are two of the most popular forms of viral marketing in today’s landscape. These typically involve some sort of game, quiz, or other leisurely activity that one person finds, enjoys playing, and shares with their friends. Marketers can create these in ways that prominently feature the brand (such as having a character related to the brand or facts about the brand included), or they may take a more passive approach such as simply having a brand logo in the background of the application.

There are many different ways to execute viral marketing campaigns, and you will find that while getting something to go viral is no easy task, it is well worth the effort once it has achieved viral status. If you are looking for ways to extend your marketing dollar and you have some creative, compelling ideas, look into how viral marketing can work for you.

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