The viral marketing is basically any marketing technique that induces Web sites or users to pass on a marketing message to other sites or users, creating a potentially exponential growth in the message's visibility and effect (Anvil Media, Inc., 2009). Viral marketing is based on the assumption that people like to share interesting and entertaining content and they do so willingly and with no persuasion from external environment. Viral marketing therefore creates the content to share and very often also functions or tools how to share the content easily.
A viral campaign can’t be planned or predicted, but it is dearly hoped for by marketers. (Delana, 2008)
Viral marketing also can use element of exclusivity where only limited number of people have access to certain content, to certain application or product. The marketers want to increase the interest and attraction of the target audience. There can be usually identified viral marketing on Internet by using one of the three types of technological use:
- E-mail + website
- Website with recommendations what to do / which site to visit
Types of Viral Campaigns
- Efforts aimed at branding rather than selling particular products or services. Currently, one of the most successful ways to achieve this goal is through interactive mini-sites that encourage user-generated content.
- Giveaways, such as free samples or entry into a sweepstakes.
- Content publishers have information of value that they hope will be passed along to others who might be interested.
(Noyes, 2007) Interviewing Stefan Pollard, director of consulting services at Email Labs, in interview for E-Commerce Times, ECT News Network, Inc., 2007.
The disadvantage of the viral marketing lays in the fact that once the viral content is in the process of spreading virally between the Internet users there is very often no possibility to stop the campaign before its attractiveness is decreased by the age of the campaign or lack of interest of the target audience.