Viral Marketing, How Ads Go Viral !

15 Aug, 2013

This is a guest post by Alaili Abdallah who is the founder and CEO of advertising company MediaO2, and runs a Viral marketing & consultancy service you can follow him on Twitter @alaili1.

The truth about viral marketing, what you probably won’t hear anywhere else, is that viral advertising did not appear out of the blue, publicity stunts have existed since hundreds of years, and viral marketing is nothing more than the adaptation of publicity stunts to the internet age.

(to give you an idea, here’s some of the best publicity stunts)

Having been in this domain for more than 6 years, and having worked with basically ever type of viral advertising form, from Video, to articles, to images, the only constant in viral advertising is “the shareability”. People should share the content to become viral.

I know you have probably came across an article here or there, giving you the magical 5 or 10 steps you need to follow to make your content go viral, take my advice and forget everything you read on this subject.

What viral marketing related articles most probably failed to mention, is that before applying any magic formula, you should understand your target audience and your platform, and that each project is unique.

Reality of social media advertising:

It is easy when you have a facebook page with a million fans, to get a couple thousands likes and few hundreds shares when posting a funny picture, but is this viral marketing? Will it work if you post an ad for your business?

It is possible to get hundreds of thousands of video views for your video dancing, singing or doing weird stuff, but is this viral marketing? Will it work if it was a video ad for your company?

The answer for all these questions, is No!

ads ignored

People are not interested in ads and advertising, viral marketing is the art of making ads interesting to see, but most importantly to share, it is basically an online publicity stunt, it is a several stages process, that begins with creating an interesting ad and continues to establishing distribution channels and ends in media pitching!

Viral marketing campaigns are not cheap, but content can achieve viral status without the need for a marketing campaign, as long as it does not contain advertising! Once the content is viewed as an ad the virality is reduced by a factor of 100 at least, and

the possibility to attain viral status without a professional campaign is almost always reduced to 0.

Strategies to get content go viral:

For each form of viral marketing there are a different set of criteria that help the content achieve viral status, here’s some of the most basic tips that can be used to help improve the chances a content go viral.

To help videos go viral:

1- The video should be shocking, funny, bizarre, controversial etc …

2- Even the best video will never achieve any views without minimum distribution, so share it with your friends and ask them to do the same.

3- The content should be Viral, meaning people should want to share it.(the difference between Viral video and celebrity video)

To help articles go viral:

1- Enumerate points in a list, people love lists, for example: best 10 ways …, top 20 pages that…, etc …

2- Distribution through social networks, is not as important as for videos but still helps.

3- Make sure to have a SEO friendly article, this is the most important point for articles.(see what makes an article SEO friendly).

To help Images go viral:

1- Should be cute , funny or contain valuable info ( info-graphics) .

2- Understand the platform you are using and and how it works (facebook, Google+, twitter, tumblr, etc…)

The Video below summarize this article in a fun way: (Video explainer by AnimationVids)

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