Viral marketing series – Part 1, Definition and Discussion

Thu, Jun 4, 2009


What is Viral marketing?

Viral marketing refers to any strategy which encourages individuals to pass on a marketing/advertising message to others. It creates the potential for exponential growth in exposure and influence. Like viruses, such strategies take advantage of rapid multiplication via social contact to explode the message to large numbers of people quickly.

Outside of the Internet environment, viral marketing has been referred to as “word-of-mouth,” “creating a buzz,” “leveraging the media,” and “network marketing.” But in the online context, it’s “viral marketing.”

What are the advantages of viral marketing online? Why do it?

The big advantages of online viral marketing are high credibility, low costs, great reach, high efficiency and the opportunity of making continuous promotion adjustments. The main reasons for its wide popularity of online viral marketing are:

• Viral marketing is one of the few potentially cost-free methods for successfully promoting a business transaction.

• Viral marketing campaigns don’t have a stop date like traditional advertising. They can go on indefinitely.

• You don’t have to monitor your campaigns all the time. In traditional advertising you have to track every dollar you spend. But with viral marketing, you won’t have to monitor the dollars because you won’t be spending any.

• Your customers will start to recognize you. Viral marketing is important because it’s a medium that allows you to be as creative and zany as you want, without any restrictions or reservations

• You’ll find yourself sailing up the search engine rankings. If you didn’t know already, your ranking on search engines is partly determined by how many links lead to your site. Every time someone embeds your video, links to you, links to your content, etc. you get brownie points with spiders and the engines they serve, like Google and Yahoo.

Of course, traditional advertising has its upside as well, but if you’re just starting out or you don’t have a lot of money to spare (or perhaps you have a niche market that can’t be targeted by traditional media), viral marketing may be the solution for you.

Over the next few weeks we’re going to analyze some real-world viral marketing campaigns, taking a critical look at the commonly adopted techniques and strategies deployed. First up will be, a site that only launched about a week ago but has already enjoyed some incredible free media exposure (including television). We have an inside line to the site’s webmaster (he shares our office), so we’re going to do an interview as well. See you soon!

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24 Responses to “Viral marketing series – Part 1, Definition and Discussion”

  1. othepedgedids Says:

    Hi, Congratulations to the site owner for this marvelous work you’ve done. It has lots of useful and interesting data.


  2. Pclink Says:

    On the odd note, viral markeing gets some issues on spam threats – If made badly, viral marketing can guide to significant spam issues.


  3. Mogul Says:

    Uhm. Think you might be confusing viral marketing with VIRUS marketing there, pal.


  4. Smarmy Says:

    Thanks for the article, it’s a nice summary.

    I love the idea of viral campaigns, but have no idea about how to create one. It seems the best ones are just serendipity, and to contrive to make a viral campaign sabotages it. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.


  5. Mogul Says:


    We’re going to have a look at a few “contrived” viral campaigns over the next few weeks, but in terms of ones that’ve been successful in the past, you might want to consider the marketing campaigns for the True Blood TV series, the Cloverfield film, and the “subservient chicken” viral campaign that Burger King ran – still viewable at


  6. Emman Says:

    What specific businesses need more to have this kind of marketing?


  7. melliezob Says:

    It is interesting. You will not prompt to me, where I can read about it?


  8. Elaine Garrett Says:

    Viral marketing is what we all aspire to but how do our strategies get discovered among all the other “viruses”?

    Elaine Garrett’s last blog post..Make Your Links Count


    • Mogul Says:

      I think the thing to do is examine known successful viral campaigns and try to analyze and isolate the factors that have made them successful. We’ll be doing that in this series over the next few weeks.

      Appreciate the comment; cheers.


  9. Bama Says:

    Going indefinitely. This is a great opportunity for businesses. Less monitoring means less maintenance. Viral marketing rocks!


  10. Lacome Says:

    This has been practiced in our company for some time and it really helped us a lot in terms of our sales.


  11. JamesD Says:

    Thanks for the useful info. It’s so interesting


  12. Charles - Big Idea Blogger Says:

    What’s difficult is creating something worthy of going viral. We can’t force people to tell their friends about your stuff, we can only suggest or guide them.

    Charles – Big Idea Blogger’s last blog post..Are you Brain-Dumping?


  13. Asswass Says:

    It’s not easy to go viral, but when you do you really hit the jackpot. Nice post.

    P.S. You never came back to my blog :S
    .-= Asswass´s last blog ..I do everything from my BlackBerry Curve 8900 (Javelin) =-.


  14. Sweet Love Says:

    Going viral is a tedious task. Must have a lot of patience to do it.


  15. Meilyn Says:

    I agree with Sweet Love. Key is effort and patience.


  16. Aztek Marketing Blog Says:

    Excellent post. Thank you for posting this. I enjoyed it alot.


  17. Atlanta Says:

    Viral marketing is the “it” for today. Traditional is sooo expensive!


  18. Battlefield Says:

    You’ve got to have great content fot the viral marketing to work. Nice inputs here.


  19. Tada Says:

    Very informative post, a good read for the start of the week.


  20. Urong Says:

    Viral marketing works. Tried and tested.


  21. Money Maker Says:

    I don’t have a lot of money to spare so viral marketing is the solution for me. Glad I’ve found this article.


  22. Obambi Says:

    the awesome of having your business going viral is worth putting effort in i think


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