Pros and Cons of Viral Marketing

Although there are many ways to advertise your business online, the best marketers know when to rely on which approach. Undoubtedly, one of the most efficient ways to get people talking about your brand is to launch a catchy viral marketing campaign. However, is viral marketing effective, or do people remember the few standouts that managed to gain public attention? When discussing viral marketing, it would be a mistake to think that the only way to be successful is to do something extreme to get attention. Let’s look at the pros and cons of viral marketing and determine if it’s a good choice for your company.

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    Viral Marketing

    There is No Such Thing as Bad Marketing… or is There?

    There are a few things you should know before you hastily launch a controversial viral marketing campaign. If you base your viral campaign solely on shock value, you might get some initial attention, but you could also easily damage your brand. While viral marketing can help you reach a wide audience with your message, you should be careful of what kind of message you are sending out.

    Naturally, you’ll want something that can immediately grab the audience's attention, but it would be best if you avoid using extremely shocking advertising. Before we discuss the pros and cons of viral marketing, we suggest that you start using a tool to help you measure your online visibility. SemRush is a popular tool trusted by millions of marketers worldwide. Although any form of exposure is, in theory, good for your brand, it would be best if you paid close attention to how users perceive your brand.

    What is Viral Marketing?

    Viral marketing is a form of advertising that relies on creating (intentionally or sometimes even unintentionally) exciting content that will continue to spread beyond your marketing efforts. You create an interesting piece of content and get the ball rolling. Over time it can garner enough audience interest and continue to spread on its own without your direct influence; thus, the term – viral marketing. 

    We can consider viral marketing to be a form of content marketing. Therefore, you can apply the same techniques and skills and even use content marketing software to help you launch a viral marketing campaign. The main idea behind a viral marketing campaign is to find a way to creatively promote your business or products in a way that inspires users to participate in your campaign. Nowadays, this type of engagement mainly occurs on social media, so you should focus on creating popular content for those platforms.

    The Pros and Cons of Viral Marketing

    Pros of Viral Marketing

    1. Cost-Effective

    The main allure of viral marketing is that once you create and launch an exciting piece of content, your work is done. Users will continue to spread the content for you through word of mouth. You must realize, however, that sometimes you must invest a bit to create that initial content spread. You can achieve this through traditional marketing campaigns and by hiring influencers to create buzz around your viral campaign.

    1. Viral Marketing Builds Brand Awareness

    It would be best if you were realistic that marketing can have different goals. You don’t have to focus all your advertising on directly improving sales. Some forms of advertising are better suited to generating leads or creating trust around your brand. One of the greatest strengths of viral marketing is that it can build incredible brand awareness in very little time. For this reason, your viral campaign should be exciting and catchy, while avoiding dry and dull information regarding your products. Once you generate interest in your brand, you can invite users to your website. The experts from ConvertMore suggest using customizable widgets on your landing pages. These widgets can connect customers to your sales team and convert website visitors into live calls.

    1. Viral Marketing Has an Enormous Reach

    When compared to other traditional forms of advertising, viral marketing can theoretically reach an almost-unlimited audience. Of course, the number of people you can reach will greatly depend on how creative your campaign is. What’s best is that your marketing might even be able to reach individuals through word of mouth who otherwise would never hear of your company. If your message goes viral, it will reach more people than you would be able to get through to with your paid marketing.

    Cons of Viral Marketing

    1. Difficult to Control

    Once you send your message out to the internet, you will have very little control regarding how it is received. Other types of marketing, such as PPC advertising, allow you to control how many people see your message and which demographic it is delivered to. Additionally, other forms of advertising let you change or adjust your message mid-campaign, while that is practically impossible in viral marketing.

    1. Hard to Measure Success and Define Goals

    Since viral marketing relies on word of mouth, it can be challenging to track how your campaign is performing accurately. Of course, you can check the stats on how many times your link has been shared. However, word of mouth also takes place offline and outside social media.

    1. Impossible to Know if It Will Be Successful

    We have seen large companies and industry leaders attempt to create advertising in hopes it goes viral, only for those campaigns to crash and burn. Even experienced marketers can have a hard time telling which campaigns will get the audience feedback they need to go viral. Your best bet would be to know your audience and keep your ear to the ground for what’s trending.

    1. Viral Marketing Can Alienate Your Audience

    Most campaigns that rely on viral marketing will attempt to use humor, shock value, or mystery to garner audience attention. When you are attempting to push the boundaries with your humor, things can sometimes go too far. Your current followers might not appreciate your efforts to push edgy humor or controversial content as part of your marketing.


    Now that we have covered both the pros and cons of viral marketing, you should have a better idea of what this form of advertising entails. Before launching any campaign, you should carefully assess your current audience and the demographic you are trying to appeal to. This research can give you the feedback required to increase the chance of success of your viral marketing.

    Meta description: If you are interested in launching viral advertising for your brand, you should check out the pros and cons of viral marketing.

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    I'm a filmmaker with extensive training in multiple sectors of content creation whose films have been shown all over the world. I have also served as a speaker and jury member in multiple events. Nonetheless, in recent years, I became extremely disappointed with the course of the art world in general, and as consequence, I've developed an interest in topics I believed would become crucial for the future, namely, cybersecurity, self-education, web design, and investing in various assets, such as cryptocurrencies. All those events have driven me to launch RushRadar.

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