What is Viral Marketing? Types, Advantages & Examples

What is Viral Marketing - Know Online Marketing

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Viral Marketing

Viral Marketing is an online marketing strategy where people share content, product or service of a company to thousands and millions of people rapidly over social media networks or by Word-Of-Mouth. Firstly, “Viral” denotes something that spreads quickly and widely across a huge audience. At the end of such viral activity, the content would have reached unbelievable numbers of people. This is the same way how the virus spreads. Whenever people come across quality and valuable content (sometimes it would be funny or useless) that encourages people to share more.

How a content goes viral?

Let’s say a brand has a larger audience base and they are planning to launch a new product or service. Firstly, they need to concentrate on the content. The content should be directly attached to the audience’s emotion, imagination, day-to-day activities or any other activities. So that it will reach a broad audience. Moreover, when the content is accurate and valid, it even triggers people to share more.

Also, when people start comparing the content to their own lifestyle, they start sharing the same rapidly to more people. It is a kind of chain reaction. When the continuous share happens, the content starts spreading over multiple social media networks. When people talk about that, It is really a huge reach. Further, that becomes a trending content.

Social media plays a vital role when the content goes trending. Then Word-Of-Mouth is another potential sharing method. However, the huge reach and benefit completely belong to the respective brand.

Viral Marketing Infographics

What is Viral Marketing Types, Advantages, Disadvantages and Examples - Infographic - Know Online Marketing
What is Viral Marketing Types, Advantages, Disadvantages and Examples – Infographic – Know Online Marketing

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Also Read: Types of Online Marketing

Viral marketing types

It can be classified into multiple types. Each of the types comes with its unique characteristics and reach mechanism. Let’s discuss some of the important types of viral marketing.

  • Emotional
  • Lucky
  • Pass-along
  • Controversial
  • Giveaway
  • Puzzles & Riddles

Emotional viral marketing

When a brand creates content that directly attached to the people’s emotions, people start sharing the content with more people. As a result, content goes viral. The emotions can be categorized into two. Positive emotions include motivation confidence, success, etc., The negative emotions anger, laughter, tear and more. Most of the time you won’t ignore such contents. So, you will share at least with your close circle.

Lucky viral marketing

This completely a luck-based one and it’s a totally unexpected thing. The mindset of the people may decide to go viral. This is one such category. The brand owner may not have think of such reach while launching a product or service.

Pass-along viral marketing

This happens only when people sharing content normally to the known circle. Consequently, a chain activity builds while continuous sharing takes place.

Also Read: Social Media Marketing Strategies

Controversial viral marketing

When people create and speak some controversial content it becomes a hot topic and viral content. Mostly, this kind of thing happens on television shows. Such controversial created on the currently ongoing issues around us.

Giveaway viral marketing

Basically, when a big brand offers its newly launching product or service for free to certain people, It immediately goes viral on social media networks. Also, if a cinema star or political person gives any donation or helps someone for a reason also goes viral right away.

Puzzles & Riddles

When people create and share a quiz like content that goes viral on social media. Moreover, it triggers people to check their knowledge or capability. So most people won’t ignore and will attempt to solve it. If they solve, they will definitely share with others with the same excitement to check their knowledge and capability.

Advantages of viral marketing

It’s a wonderful and quick result based marketing strategy. Secondly, it can be implemented by small businesses to large businesses. Some of the immense advantages of using viral marketing are here.

  • Low marketing cost
  • Rapid growth
  • Vast reach
  • High credibility
  • More leads/conversion

Also Read: 10 Useful Tips to Get Google AdSense Approval Fast

Low marketing cost

The brand owner no need to worry about the cost to market their product or service. It just needs the initial setup. Then the result goes uncontrollable without spending anything further.

Rapid growth

A brand can get massive growth in a short span of time.  Most importantly, the result they see is a high potential one.

Vast reach

The reach a brand gets would be really broad. It would be a global reach. There’s is more possibilities to get more younger customers. Because most of the social media users are youngsters. They are really potential customers.

High credibility

The brand credibility during the campaign get drastically increases and get a standard name among people permanently. This marketing made it easy to create trust in the brand.

More leads/conversion

The no. of leads or conversions you get really huge and it may amuse you. Using this data for further campaigns makes the growth even easier.

Advantages of Viral Marketing - Know Online Marketing
Advantages of Viral Marketing – Know Online Marketing

Also Read: What Is Display Advertising? What are the types?

Disadvantages of viral marketing

Even if we see huge growth in brand visibility, reach and revenue, It has some disadvantages as well. Let’s take a quick look at them.

  • Becomes uncontrollable
  • It’s hard to measure the result
  • It’s not repetitive

Examples of viral marketing

Here are some of the historical examples of viral marketing you should know. These examples can be considered as an inspirational campaign. Making a solid viral marketing strategy becomes possible when we deep dive into these previous campaigns. Some of the examples here from digitallabz.com.

  • Hotmail
  • Subservient Chicken
  • Watchmen
  • Jack in the Box
  • Dark Knight
  • Transport for London
  • Smirnoff
  • Dove
  • Peerflix
  • Bob Dylan
  • Simpsons

Go through the examples showcased above from here to know more facts and stats in detail.

Also Read: Free Digital Marketing Course by Google

Also Read: Small Business Marketing Ideas That Can Make A Difference Today


To sum up, viral marketing is a powerful marketing strategy but it works well only when we create attractive, most engaging content. It may start working at an unexpected time. Keeping consistency in brand building is more important especially for small businesses. Let’s keep doing that and wait for our viral moment. Hope it comes very soon.

We hope this article was useful and it made you aware of viral marketing. If you are still looking for any resources, get in touch with us at admin@knowonlinemarketing.com.

Image Credits: Pixabay.com; Content Reference: Marketing91.com

About the author

Kavinkumar Subramani

Kavinkumar Subramani

Digital-Tech Blogger

Kavin is a passionate blogger from Know Online Marketing. He publishes insightful and value-added articles and infographics on online marketing, blogging, WordPress, hosting and domain, web design/development, digital tools, online courses, and more.

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