By Alba Fraile, on 22 July 2019
Every day we hear all about viral marketing, a new viral video and content that spreads at the speed of light. But what exactly is it? And how did it get to be viral? Is it due to a viral product or viral advertising, viral campaigns or simply luck, that randomly makes something such a big hit…
Viral content usually has a well-designed viral strategy behind it, but virality is, in part, also due to luck, creativity and preparation. To break down this concept a little better, I am going to explain the definition of this concept, how a viral campaign works, the advantages of viral marketing, and show you some of my favorite examples.
Viral Marketing: what is it?
Viral Marketing is that which is able to generate interest and the potential sale of a brand or product through messages that spread like a virus, in other words, quickly, and from person to person. The idea is for it to be the users themselves that choose to share the content.
Due to their speed and ease to share, social networks are the natural habitat of this kind of marketing. The most widespread example in recent times is the creation of emotional, surprising, funny or unique videos on YouTube, which are then shared on Facebook, Twitter and other channels.
However virality can be a double-edged sword. It's important to remember that in this type of campaign, a large part of the control falls into the hands of the users, and there is a risk that the message can be misinterpreted or parodied. On the other hand, a successful viral campaign can work miracles for your brand’s results.
How a viral campaign works
In theory, a viral marketing campaign is very simple to carry out: create a video or another type of content which is attractive to your target, put it on the internet and promote it. Form there on, all you can do is wait for the fuse to light and for users to start sharing like crazy.
In some cases, virality happens by accident. For example, when a video is uploaded by a private user that all of a sudden becomes popular and begins to circulate all around the Internet.
As for the dispersion strategy for brand videos, there are two types: the shown or the concealed. In the former, the user is aware from the first moment that they are viewing advertising or branded content, while in the latter the participation of the brand is hidden and is only revealed later.
If you apply concealed marketing techniques, it is important to be very careful so the user does not feel tricked, cheated or deceived, as the viral campaign could then turn against you.
No matter what strategy we choose, remember to never ever become "spammy", or go overboard while sharing the content. Instead of repeating message over and over again, the best strategy is to find the perfect place and time and let the “viral fuse” light itself.
Advantages of viral marketing
- Low cost. What characterizes viral campaigns is that the users do a significant part of the work for the brand, which drastically cuts down the costs of dispersion. It is unnecessary to buy advertising or media space.
- Potential of great reach. A viral video on the Internet has the ability to reach a huge international audience without having to invest a ton of money or make any extra effort. Due to this, a small company or even a private individual can go extremely viral.
- It is not invasive. In viral marketing, the social media user is the one making the decision to participate and share content, so it lessens the possibility of the brand coming across as invasive. Like this, the perception of the brand and the interaction are significantly better, compared to more classical forms of advertising.
- It helps build up your brand. If we really hit the bull’s-eye in terms of creativity, we are creating content so incredible that users themselves decide to share it and, hence create a personal connection with your brand. It is without a doubt an extremely powerful tool when it comes to branding and awareness.
Examples of viral marketing
To finish off, here are some of our favorite examples of inspiring viral marketing here at Cyberclick. We hope you enjoy them as well!
Going viral with iPhone X
Apple maintains it’s viral appeal, with the iPhone X through their launch of the "Selfies on iPhone X" campaign. The secret to this example of viral marketing (which has clocked up over millions views both online and offline) is very simple: a product so great that it turns people into fans of the brand all on its own. People love themselves. If they have the possibility of spreading this love digitally through selfies, it’s almost a guaranteed win. The iPhone X’s brilliant selfie feature spread virally through various media forms before apple repurposed the viral content into one masterpiece, the iPhone X selfies film. As one of the YouTube comments says, “It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen”… This viral marketing through video has allowed Apple to spread key features such as their Portrait Lighting effects and their TrueDepth camera.
Viral status: Fidget Spinner
A truly viral product emerged from targeting a truly viral problem in the digital age, known as attention deficit disorder. Allowing people globally to channel their nervousness into an entertaining handheld device has allowed for the viral spread of Fidget Spinners. The products modest beginnings spread virally through school children and later through to adults. We started seeing fidget spinners in social media, memes with fidget spinners, fidget spinners distracting people while crossing the street, and of course, fidget spinners in the impulse purchase section of your local supermarket. This little product achieved a viral marketing status through providing a ‘solution’ to a viral problem and bringing about a world full of fidgetty temptation.
‘13 Reasons Why’ it went viral
1. Who can’t relate to feeling isolated at times?
2. Users join Hannah through her suffering from social tensions
3. Users uncover Hannah's tragic story through web experience
4. 13reasons.fr is constantly updated with messages and contacts
5. An integrated experience and ease of sharing
6. A viral loop created between TV show and social media
7. The emotional drama brings users emotional engagement sparks further reaction
8. Users are provided with an endless feed of sharable and potentially viral content in terms of
9. Hannah Bakers Instagram account, her browser history and more
10. As their audience grows, users social media reactions increase
11. The viral content loops become ever more viral
12. Users become ever more immersed into Hannah's social environment
13. Good content + share-ability = recipe for viral marketing