Viral marketing

From CEOpedia | Management online

Viral marketing is a marketing technique that uses existing social networks to promote a product or service. It involves creating content that is so engaging and shareable, that it encourages people to share it with their friends, family, and followers. This content can take the form of videos, images, articles, or even games. When the content is shared, the idea is that it is shared exponentially, creating a "viral" effect.

Viral marketing has become increasingly popular in the internet age. It is an effective way to get your message out to a large audience quickly and for very little cost. Some of the benefits of using viral marketing include:

  • Increased brand recognition: When people share content associated with your brand, it increases the number of people who are exposed to your message. This can lead to increased brand recognition and sales.
  • Low cost: Compared to traditional advertising methods, viral marketing is relatively inexpensive, since it relies heavily on word-of-mouth.
  • Increased reach: Viral marketing can reach a much larger audience than traditional methods, since it is shared among a network of people.

Example of Viral marketing

A great example of viral marketing is the ice bucket challenge, which was launched in 2014 in support of the ALS Association. The challenge involved people pouring a bucket of ice water over their heads and nominating a friend to do the same. This challenge quickly spread on social media, with people from all over the world participating and donating to the cause. The challenge was so successful that it raised over $100 million for the ALS Association.

This example demonstrates the power of viral marketing and how it can be used to spread a message quickly and for a low cost. By creating an engaging challenge that people were excited to take part in, the ALS Association was able to quickly reach a large audience and raise a large amount of money for their cause.

Formula of Viral marketing

The formula for viral marketing is

In this equation, the infection rate refers to the percentage of people exposed to the content who will then share it with their network. The average network refers to the number of people in the average user's network. By multiplying these two numbers together, you can estimate the viral reach of your message.

When to use Viral marketing

Viral marketing is best used when there is a message or story you want to spread to a large audience. It is also useful when you want to create a buzz around a product or service. However, it is important to remember that viral marketing is not a guaranteed success. You need to create content that is engaging, shareable, and timely in order to have the best chance of success.

Types of Viral marketing

Viral marketing encompasses a wide range of techniques, from creating content that encourages people to share it, to creating a product that is inherently shareable. Some of the most popular types of viral marketing include:

  • User-generated content: This is when you create content that encourages users to share it with their friends and followers. This could be a video, meme, or infographic.
  • Referral programs: These are programs that offer incentives to users for referring their friends to a product or service. For example, a company may offer a discount or free trial to customers who refer their friends.
  • Social media contests: These are contests that are hosted on social media sites, such as Instagram or Twitter. They encourage users to share content with their followers in order to win a prize.

Steps of Viral marketing

There are a few key steps that need to be taken in order to create an effective viral marketing campaign.

  • Identify the target audience: It is important to identify the target audience for the campaign in order to tailor the message to them.
  • Create content: The content should be engaging, shareable, and relevant to the target audience.
  • Launch the campaign: The campaign should be launched strategically, with the goal of reaching as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time.
  • Measure the results: It is important to measure the success of the campaign in order to adjust the strategy, if necessary.

Advantages of Viral marketing

Viral marketing has its advantages when it comes to promoting a product or service. Some of the benefits include:

  • Increased brand recognition: Viral marketing can help increase brand recognition since the content associated with your brand is shared among a large audience.
  • Low cost: Compared to traditional advertising methods, viral marketing is relatively inexpensive since it relies heavily on word-of-mouth.
  • Increased reach: Viral marketing can reach a much larger audience than traditional methods, since it is shared among a network of people.

Limitations of Viral marketing

Despite its advantages, there are some limitations to viral marketing. These include:

  • Difficulty in predicting success: It is difficult to predict which pieces of content will go viral, and there is often no way of knowing if a marketing campaign will be successful or not.
  • Difficulty in controlling the message: Once content is shared, it can be difficult to control how it is interpreted or what message it conveys.
  • Limited tracking capabilities: Tracking the success of a viral marketing campaign can be difficult, since it is often difficult to determine how a piece of content was shared and how many people it has reached.

Other approaches related to Viral marketing

Besides viral marketing, there are other forms of online marketing that businesses can use to reach a large audience quickly. These include:

  • Pay-per-click (PPC): PPC is a form of online advertising where advertisers pay a set amount for each click on their ad. This can be a great way to reach a large audience quickly, since it guarantees a certain number of impressions.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): SEO involves optimizing web pages to make them more visible in search engine results. This can help businesses to reach a larger audience, since it increases the chances of their content being seen in search results.
  • Social media marketing: Social media marketing involves creating content that is engaging and shareable, and then sharing it on social media networks. This can help businesses reach a large audience quickly, since social media networks have a large user base.

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