Viral marketing – explosive market penetration – but how?

The pursuit of virality in marketing is one of the goals for campaigns in many marketing departments today.

In this article you will read how you use viral marketing as a power channel for your target group and which mistakes you have to avoid. 

What is viral marketing and why do I need it?

I have recently come across a new app, which actually has been in the market for more than 2 months. Also, I had such a feeling that everybody around me has already been using it. How does it work that so many people are already active users? Why was I out?
This was such a little and simple example if viral marketing, so I wanted to understand how it works and whether I can benefit from it somehow.
Viral marketing relies on the spread of a marketing message to sites or users, creating a potentially exponential growth in the message’s visibility and effect and is especially effective through social networks. So, it allows building a wide coverage in short time attracting new target groups.

This is what viral marketing is all about

Viral marketing is a business strategy that uses existing social networks to promote a product. Its name refers to how consumers spread information about a product with other people on their social networks, similar to how a virus spreads from one person to another.
Viral marketing usually provides its target audience with something valuable. This can be something as simple as an amusing song or game. Whatever the viral content is, it must be an encouraging factor to share it with others so that as many people as possible get the message of the content.

Viral Marketing facts and figures

viral marketing facts

According to a Fractl survey, which examined divisible content via buzzfeed, different lengths of viral content were found depending on the subject area.

For example, content on physical health requires around one third of words compared to travel topics in order to be virally effective.

viral marketing facts word count
viral marketing facts viral recommendations

Smart Insights show that more than half of all viral recommendations ultimately lead to a purchase.

4 mistakes in viral marketing you should avoid

You are being lazy, and act not as an active gatekeeper with a negative PR

When you made the ball rolling and your content started going viral you should not just stay put and let things go as they go. It’s an irresponsible position. You need to put in some more care and handle your content spread process with sensitivity. If you want your program to translate to sales, you need to review, revisit and revamp (if necessary) on a regular basis.

Your position in cooperation is not transparent and not prudent

It can go pear-shaped at the very important moment: for example when you and your partners are going to pull through viral something really cool. Make sure that you behave open and honest when interacting with your potential partners. Just stay transparent along the entire path; otherwise, your virality can turn into a nightmare for your reputation.

You are careless with what you say and who you say that

When it comes to marketing you have to be extremely careful in your word choices. It should understand as clear as possible what your words mean to the ears of your target group. It is especially important when you are going to enter new markets, and especially if you do not speak the language of the country whose market you enter.

You cross the comfort zone border

Some actions, while being planned as viral, can have a pretty aggressive nature, which is not to be appreciated by your potential target groups. When people feel disturbed in their own comfort zone it means that you have probably gone extreme with your virality actions. Consider everything in advance and test your ideas in small groups so that you can clearly see what messages go okay and are perceived the way you can predict, and with which of them you can make an embarrassing mistake. Yeas, there is a really fine line that you should be cautious not to cross.

Viral Marketing is just the beginning

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Classification of viral marketing in the marketing context

business development funnel

Viral marketing throughout the marketing funnel

In the entire marketing funnel, the activities you perform with viral marketing are usually located between the top of the funnel and the middle range.

The focus here is on measures that (potential) customers first become aware of you and your solutions and want to learn more about you.

Immediate impact on sustainability

Viral marketing is a channel that is not very predictable and therefore requires a lot of time and creativity.

The reverberation is very high from the moment when your content also works virally.

viral marketing impact sustainability
Virales Marketing Portfolio

Classification in the channel portfolio

When you compile your portfolio of channels and promotions, viral marketing will typically have the function of putting a seed in the head of your potential or future customer in the long run. 

This channel therefore works best in combination with the very short-term as well as the medium-term channels.

4 often underrated tips and hacks of viral marketing

Stay away from “trendy” tools

Sometimes all you need is a little bit of inspiration: give some nice wings to your creativity. Then you can take a look at some curious websites like or similar ones. Just copying stuff that you already have does not help the virality. Use your imagination and stay cool.

People like to share lists and infographics

Professionals from OkDork have figured it out that lists and infographics get much more shares than, for instance, “How-to” posts and videos. It can probably be explained by the way we perceive information: by swiping quickly through the message we can quickly understand whether it is interesting for us or whether this very content offers us some value.

People tend to share content that looks credible

Do your articles and other contents have some features and signs that evoke the feeling of trust? A mini-bio of the author or at least the authors in the blog post definitely bring about more desire to share this article with your friends or colleagues than the one hell knows who wrote. It’s just that while putting his name above the article the author shows he is responsible for what he has written, and he believes in what he does.

Develop more visual content

One picture says more than 1000 words. Whenever possible, and especially when you intend to make some portion for your content viral, do your best to seek photos, memes, gif’s, infographics or video materials you can use in your content. The easier the content is to consume the likelier it gets shared.

Viral Marketing key performance indicators

Page Views

This indicator estimates the number of views on one particular page of your website. It can be exactly your viral content. So, your visitor will most likely get to your home page, then to About page and only afterwards they will watch a video or read an article. It will count as 3 pages views, however only one session.

Average visit duration

The average stay indicator allows you to see how long a visitor of your website stays on the page of your article, for example. In other words, you’ll understand how much the offer on the page can keep a visitor interested.

Number of returning users

This indicator displays how many people get back to your website and allows you to gauge how relevant your content is to people who visit your website or, in other words, to what extent they consider your content meets their expectations.

Get going

You realize that viral marketing is a really exciting channel for your brand. It’s a little predictable approach, but with creativity and the necessary tact, the likelihood that the content will spread and you can reach explosive market penetration will be significantly increased. 

You also realize that viral marketing has to be located in the funnel entrance. A complementary portfolio is especially important for a short-term effect on the customer. 

And now: Think about how your existing content can be prepared so that it can soon spread virally.


About Me

As a growth marketing expert and customer developer, I experience every day how important a customer-centric corporate culture is. 

In combination with agile testing and optimization processes, you will bring your growth fully on course.


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