Viral marketing is also known as viral marketing. This term is used to describe advertising measures whose content spreads like an epidemic or like a “virus” within a very short time. To achieve this goal, the advertiser makes sure that a message related to a brand, a specific advertising campaign or a product spreads like word of mouth. However, in viral marketing, unlike word of mouth, this spread is not initiated by the consumer, but is triggered by the advertiser. This form of marketing is known for being very inexpensive to implement in relation to the potential success.
Forms of viral marketing
There are two basic forms of viral marketing. In active viral marketing, the user decides on his own to spread information. Common practices here include “sharing” in social media or forwarding by email. The basic prerequisite here, however, is that the user really finds the content interesting and feels the need to recommend it to friends and acquaintances. With passive viral marketing, it is already enough for a user to use a product. A typical example of this is free mailers who, in the footer of each email, inform the recipient of the e-mail that the sender uses the free mailer’s services – this alone already contains an indirect recommendation. This is also common with Facebook apps: the apps post to the user’s wall when they have opted to use an app, so that their friends can read it as well.
Measures for dissemination
There are a variety of possible measures for spreading a viral advertising message. Today, social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter are used particularly frequently for viral marketing, as messages naturally spread particularly quickly here. Typical distribution channels, however, are also:
- Recommendation buttons on websites
- Word of mouth
- User information in relevant communities
- Reporting in well-visited blogs
- Forwarding by email
A viral marketing strategy that can also work very well is to target opinion leaders who can act as multipliers in a particular topic area. If they find a topic interesting enough to share with their acquaintances, a company may reach tens of thousands of people at once.
Prerequisites for success
Viral marketing campaigns are not left to chance. The success of a campaign depends primarily on how entertaining or useful the message is. An excellent example of a successful viral marketing campaign from the past is the grouse game, with which a whiskey manufacturer wanted to advertise and which spread within a very short time. Of course, the content must be accessible free of charge. In addition, it can’t hurt to offer a small reward, a contest or a sweepstakes that rewards the forwarding of the content.
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