You may wonder how a virus is linked to marketing just from the term ‘viral marketing’. It is understandable to have confusion regarding its meaning. Viral marketing is a marketing strategy that requires individuals to share a particular message to others in order to make that message popular. Like actual viruses this strategy spreads rapidly, and before you know it many people will have been exposed to the message. Viral marketing takes place on the internet it’s normally referred as ‘marketing on the internet’. Viral marketing utilises communications networks that are already current and available. It has the capability to spread a message efficiently to more people, which is far much better than conservative third-party advertising campaigns.

Hotmail Viral Marketing

The term ‘viral marketing’ first became apparent when email service Hotmail used it to illustrate a marketing campaign that would help increase the awareness of their company. Hotmail used viral marketing by making sure every outgoing message included an advert for Hotmail and its website’s URL at the bottom of the email. Recipients could click on the advert or URL and sign themselves up to Hotmail. The more people sent emails to their friends and colleagues, the more they were promoting and advertising Hotmail. The message multiplied within social networks, and thousands of people were signing up to Hotmail. What Hotmail did explains the key elements of viral marketing. The advertising they carried out didn’t cost them much. Hotmail’s marketing strategy benefited from active resources by making each member an involuntary spokesperson. Due to their immensely successful viral marketing, Hotmail is one of today’s largest email services. Over the years the marketing has grossed Microsoft large sums of profit.
A clear fact about viral marketing is that some virals are more successful than others. A successful viral should consist of these elements:

  • Clearly shows and explains products or services
  • Presents a simple transmit to other virals
  • States important points or what makes it differ
  • Develops general motivations and behaviours
  • Makes use of current communication networks
  • Manipulates others’ assets

Youtube Video Viral Marketing

Youtube is a huge social mediaplatform for viral marketing. Millions of people visit Youtube to watch a variety of videos. Once a video lands on Youtube and it gets shared around by a large number of people it will have thousands or even millions of views in a couple of days, which will potentially turn it into a viral because many people would have seen it. If a video has gone viral it will appear on Youtube’s home page and under the ‘Most watched’ section. A method to increase views on a video in attempt to make it viral is by posting it on popular social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter. This way you will be exposing your social media contacts to the video and they are bound to view it. On Facebook companies promote their campaigns through advertising. The adverts require users to like the page so that users can access more information about the campaign. The more likes a page receives, the more popular and viral its campaign becomes. To calculate a campaign’s progress on Twitter is by checking how many re-tweets the video has had, including if it is a trending topic or not. Another social site that’s useful for viral marketing is Blackberry Messenger. Sending a broadcast to contacts will inform them about your campaign. If your campaign has a video you can attach the video’s URL in the broadcast and this can aid in generating views in order to make the video viral. Last but not least Youtube videos can easily be imbedded into your web design without the need of a video server to help you showcase your video on your website.
Here are examples of some of the most successful viral ads in history:

Doritos® – Crash the Super Bowl 2010 Finalist – House Rules

By Doritos

Pepsi Next “Baby”

By Pepsi

Will It Blend? – iPad

By Blendtec

Evian Roller Babies US

By Evian

The Force: Volkswagen Commercial

By Volkswagon


BY DC Shoes

2009 Xbox Project Natal Announcement

By Microsoft

Old Spice | The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

By Oldspice