Learn the tricks of viral marketing NOW!

effect viral marketing


Viral marketing is dope.

I say this because its simplicity and complexity enthralls me.

  • Simplicity,

for its ability to spread the message to millions in seconds by a simple chain formation.


  • Complexity,

because of the in depth planning that goes into the framing of right strategies to achieve the goal.

But what is Viral Marketing?

what is viral marketing

There are many definitions available on Google.

However, this one seems plausible:

viral marketing definition


Here information spreads in an exponential manner.

Just like any virus!!

With viral marketing, brands leverage the consumer-to-consumer interactions to achieve their marketing goals.

In fact, content creation teams do create such messages in a way that are:

  • easily transportable to scores of people


  • in a short span of time.

This style broke into news in the late half of 1990s,

[thanks to the article titled ‘Virus of Marketing’  by Jeffrey Rayport].

Viral advertising is a serious break from the ‘ancient’ marketing tactics like

  • cold calling
  • press releases
  • newsletters etc.

Take the instance of Hotmail:

Hotmail was launched in July 1996 by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith.

At the advice of their Venture Capitalist, they included a line which would change their fortunes forever:

example of viral


Hotmail earned 12 million users in the next 18 months.

Many marketing experts believe viral marketing is a revolutionary concept in the field of modern marketing.

My prediction is:

“As many firms become ambitious, viral marketing shall become one of the go – to marketing tactics in the years to come.”

What does it take to make it work?

Basically, factors such as

  • the framework of the message
  • the effectiveness of the messenger
  • use of social media platforms
  • the audience psychology

can go a long way in determining the overall impact of viral marketing.

Factors affecting viral marketing


The message conveyed must be appealing and in sync with the customers’ needs.

Also, the promoter ought to have strong speaking skills in order to make the consumers digest the message.

Having a lion’s share in viral marketing, the right use of social media platforms is a crucial factor in the success of viral marketing.

Lastly, the right audience can be identified by understanding their psychology which is possible by conducting a market research.

And how does viral marketing work?

Given below is a glimpse into the process of viral marketing:

process of getting content viral


  1. Studying the field:

Assessing conditions.

The brand studies:

  • the market demographics
  • past trends
  • consumer needs and wants
  • rivals’ past and ongoing strategies
  • industry’s future estimates etc.

business basics

Image credit : cbdc.ca


For this purpose, market research teams scan primary and secondary data

and reports back to the company’s organizational heads.


  1. Creating The Message Mania


Basics done.


Based on the research findings, frame the all important message.

Create a tailor made viral video or image or any blog for instance.

Make sure it’s in sync with the market requirements.

freebies result                                                                       Guess this viral YouTube video 😉


Doling out freebies in the message shall give a boost to the MSR (Message Spread Rate).

This links us to another point which is:

  1. Playing to your audience’s advantage:

What happens when you ask your friends for help?

A work which would involve lots of hardships and pain?

A few loyalists would stand by your side.

Now, take the other case.

Let’s say you promise them free Italian Pizzas topped with delicious cheese and mozzarella.

Even your enemies would slog out for you!


 So when you seek help, seek in such a way which benefits the potential helper.

Same applies to your viral marketing conquest.

A great deal of viral marketing success is based on MSR.

MSR [Message Spread Rate] is the rate at which the message goes viral in the online community.

Parameters such as the online view rate, likes and shares, Twitter hashtag trends etc. can be used to judge this.

To shoot up MSR, attack your audience with freebies.


  1. S.A.S. Principle

 SAS principle


Till now, we have:

  • Analyzed the market
  • Created the message
  • Kept the audience’s purpose in mind

The fourth step is to follow the S.A.S. Principle:

  • Surprise:

Wait for the right moment.

Storm the market at a time when it’s quiet.

And then take the audience by surprise.

Come out as an unconventional entity in the whole industrial sphere.

Patience is the key to winning the first impression game.

  • Amuse

Keep your message simple.

Make the audience laugh. Wear a humorous face.

Positive emotions such as inspiration, laughter, excitement etc. are your hypnotizing gadgets.

Use them to your advantage and attract eyeballs.


viral wallpaper image

image credit : hindustantimes.com

An interested audience won’t mind some snakes in your cupboard.

Pun intended.

  • And Succeed as a result of execution of the previous two factors.


  1. Social Sharing Buttons 

On a positive note,

I believe that companies create exceptional content and market it well.

Somewhere in the hustle and bustle of framing strategies, they forget the tit bits which cost them dearly.

Keep the social sharing buttons visible to the public, at the top of the post.

social sharing for viral post


  1. Review and Readjust

 Keep an eye on the effects.

If the MSR is high, then give a pat on your back.

Or else, go back to the drawing room and rework your strategies.

Be ready with your Plan B, c etc. as a backup for Plan A.


5 Viral Marketing Ideas you deserve to learn

 Below are some cool viral marketing examples which will blow your minds:


  1. The Ice Bucket Challenge


The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was created to serve a charitable purpose of donating money for the needy.

The origin of this challenge is credited to Pete Frates and Pat Quinn.

Both these inventors suffer from ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a neurological disorder which causes the death of neurons.

Ice bucket challenge went viral


  1. Volkswagen – The Fun Theory

Volkswagen initiated a viral marketing campaign in 2009 which would alter the course of marketing.

It came up with the Fun Theory – doing right things in a fun way.

A series of videos were created ranging from:

World’s deepest bin



to the famous Piano Stairs


The above video garnered more than a million views in a short span of time.

With this campaign, Volkswagen as a brand grew leaps and bounds.

And you thought marketing is a dull thing!


  1. Evian’s Roller Babies Campaign


baby campaign

Image credit : ytimg.com


2009 again!

Evian, a mineral water brand, came up with a novel marketing idea to market its water.

This idea went on to give them

  • 50 million views in a year
  • and an entry into the Guinness World Records as:

“The Most Viral Ad of All Time”



This 61-second film was shot at London’s Pinewood Studios as a part of viral marketing.

Though the visuals of babies skating was too cute for many of us,

Evian suffered a sales loss of around 25 percent in the same way.

We shall discuss it in the later part.


  1. Old Spice Ad

old spice advertisement

Image credit : dailymail.co.uk 


 Old Spice, a brand manufactured of Procter & Gamble, deals in male grooming products.

Naturally, Old Spice was keen to present itself as:

‘Making the man more manlier’

So it came up with this interesting ad:



plus an additional set of 185 videos in two days as a part of responses.

Some examples:




Thanks to an innovative campaign and its word – of – mouth buzz,

this series went on to become a cultural phenomenon.


  1. PSY – Gangnam Style!


 The world music industry is perceived to be biased towards the West.

Celebrity singers like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift etc. usually end up getting close to a billion views.

However, one music video changed the whole narrative.


Check the whole case study here

Played under the label of YG Entertainment, Gangnam Style by PSY is currently the most watched video

with more than 2.5 billion views!


famous gangam style

Image credit : techtimes.com


Reports suggest that YG Entertainment, with a subscriber base of over a million users, used its contacts in USA to achieve this feat.

However, there’s no denying that the video itself is good enough to attract views.

This case study will give you more insights into how Gangnam Style became an overnight sensation.


 Viral marketing techniques

  1. Freebies

offer freebies to get share





Wanna be a Casanova of Leads? Throw freebies.

Freebies have been used previously as business tactics to give a teaser of their products.

Yet, most businesses don’t realize the power of giving.

Here are some ways of drawing attention:


  • Gift tokens or free passes for the first 5000 visitors.
  • Give free Ebooks / newsletters / How – to Guides to your regular users.
  • Buy 2 Get 1 free idea [Old School].

Make your audience believe that you are here to serve,

to add value to their lives,

not to earn monies like any other damn freaking enterprise.

  1. Content Marketing

focus on content

Image credit : socialmarketing.guru


“Content is King”

Even Bill Gates wouldn’t have imagined the popularity this line would garner in the future.

You will find the above dialogue on every digital marketer’s dictionary.

A message will go viral if and only if it has quality content to offer.

The creation process might even take weeks or months to complete.

But short term pains are no match for the long term gains one might get

if he hits the pulse of the market.

Create a compelling video or text which is catchy, interesting and different.





  1. Contest

A tried and tested method which rarely fails to deliver.

  • Arrange a contest
  • a catchy one
  • promote it madly
  • gift winners with exquisite prizes
  • make a show of this too.

Promotion of your contest also popularizes your brand.

Your brand gets associated with the contest values of excitement, fun and humor.

  1. Social media


“Social Media is the marketer’s boon.”

Imagine a viral marketing success without Twitter hashtags, Insta handles and Facebook shares.

Social media is the soul of viral marketing.

social media management


Thanks to its influence, the virus can spread to countless people in a short period.

Make use of all the social media platforms available, especially:

LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

 At the same time, don’t forget the significance of Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat etc.

 Add social sharing buttons in your blog to make your content share – friendly.


  1. Look and learn

Emulate your successful rivals.


Learn from their mistakes, their tried and tested methods of getting likes and shares.

This saves nearly 30% of your research effort in viral marketing.


Click on this link to know more about the viral marketing tools.



  1. Low investment

Viral marketing is an almost free of cost marketing. [Except the cost of Wi – Fi, router etc. ] 😛

The heart of viral marketing is the audience itself.

If they find your content share worthy, your message spreads like wild fire and vice versa.


  1. Mind boggling ROI

Linked to the previous point.

Since there is no or low investment on your part, all the revenues generated by this strategy can be booked as profits.

The profits earned are quick, which means that the returns are fast and high.


  1. Enormous publicity

A virus doesn’t stay at one place. It spreads.

It affects and supersedes every software application and affects the whole computer.

Similarly, your viral message destroys competition and goes beyond the limits of social media.

Thanks to the marketing buzz, your brand and message makes a long lasting impression

in the minds of the consumers. [both active and potential]


  1. Brand loyalty

Loyalty comes when quality ushers in.

Your viral marketing is centered around the message you give to the world.

A favourable response will create a positive perception of your brand in the market.

Conversely, negative reactions will sink your brand prospects.

What’s more? Your customers pass on your goodwill to other people,

who become leads,

and eventually  your loyal customers once they start using your products.

The lead generation process is smoothened thanks to the word of mouth campaigning.

Your actions and words speak louder than their natural skepticism which would otherwise prop up.



  1. Low WTS (Work – to – Success) Ratio

WTS Ratio is the ratio of number of viral marketing projects undertaken to the number of successes.

work to success ratio




Since the success of Hotmail via viral marketing, many firms have time and again tried to emulate this success.

Sadly, only a few good brands could reach the ‘Hall of Fame’.

A report  by Millward Brown states:

“Only 15% of ads go viral online.”

Though the success rate might seem low for some marketing experts,

it doesn’t meet the perception of the grand viral marketing created over the years.


  1. Mind boggling expectations



Viral marketing is perceived in the modern marketing world as the unbeatable arsenal for marketing.

Exciting results of Hotmail, Old Spice, Evian’s etc. have only helped to up this ante.



If the firm isn’t able to meet up to the expectations spread in the market, it may impact the long term future of the firm.

For instance, though Evian ran a highly popular campaign of  skating babies, it failed.

The same year, sales dropped by 50% and there was a considerable loss in its market share.

Thus having a successful viral marketing campaign is not a guarantee for higher profits and long term success.


  1. Enormous negative publicity

There’s always a dark side to the lucky charm.

Viral marketing campaigns are known to generate high voltage positive attention for the brand.

On the other hand, if the message is viewed negatively by the public, the effect is magnified.

Experienced brands have the cushion of bouncing back when the dust settles.

But if the brand is an infant in the branding arena, it may suffer irreversible losses,

possibly even a shutdown.

With all its processes and techniques and pros and cons, I believe that viral marketing is the way to go.

Audience craves for something new. It’s tired of the age old marketing BS.

Of course, it’s a risky investment, but if it works, it can work wonders for you.

This was all about viral marketing from my side. How was this article?

Did you find it useful?

Comment below and express your views on this subject.


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Learn the tricks of viral marketing now! it’s a risky investment, but if it works, it can work wonders for you.Audience craves for something new.
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Branding Punch
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