The Internet makes it possible for a campaign to go viral very fast; it can, so to speak, make a brand famous overnight. However, the Internet and social media technologies themselves do not make a brand viral; they just enable people to share content to other people faster. Therefore, it is generally agreed that a campaign must typically follow a certain set of guidelines in order to potentially be successful:
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The portraits were then placed side-by-side, and notable differences were found between them. The portrait based on the stranger’s description was more attractive than the portrait based on self-description. The message that the campaign aimed to convey was “You are more beautiful than you think.” Below is the video of Dove Real Beauty Sketches campaign:
The growth of social networks significantly contributed to the effectiveness of viral marketing. As of 2009, two thirds of the world's Internet population visits a social networking service or blog site at least every week. Facebook alone has over 1 billion active users. In 2009, time spent visiting social media sites began to exceed time spent emailing. A 2010 study found that 52% of people who view news online forward it on through social networks, email, or posts.
Viral content doesn’t just generate traffic from the top social networks. It can give you a leg up in SERPs – Search Engine Results Pages. In Google search results, for example, if you can’t rank for a high-competition keyword, you may be able to get your product featured in content from a publisher that can do so through Google News. Google News’ algorithm focuses on the content’s diversity, freshness, textual relevance to the search, and originality.
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Whereas Kaplan, Haenlein and others reduce the role of marketers to crafting the initial viral message and seeding it, futurist and sales and marketing analyst Marc Feldman, who conducted IMT Strategies' viral marketing study in 2001, carves a different role for marketers which pushes the 'art' of viral marketing much closer to 'science'.
The participants were asked to challenge minimum three persons to take the Ice Bucket Challenge. This was one of the reasons why campaign became viral. If one person tells three other people about the challenge, and those three tell the other three, a viral loop is created. By setting a call to action, and asking your audience to share about your campaign with others, you too can keep your campaign alive.
Viral advertising is personal and, while coming from an identified sponsor, it does not mean businesses pay for its distribution. Most of the well-known viral ads circulating online are ads paid by a sponsor company, launched either on their own platform (company webpage or social media profile) or on social media websites such as YouTube. Consumers receive the page link from a social media network or copy the entire ad from a website and pass it along through e-mail or posting it on a blog, webpage or social media profile. Viral marketing may take the form of video clips, interactive Flash games, advergames, ebooks, brandable software, images, text messages, email messages, or web pages. The most commonly utilized transmission vehicles for viral messages include: pass-along based, incentive based, trendy based, and undercover based. However, the creative nature of viral marketing enables an "endless amount of potential forms and vehicles the messages can utilize for transmission", including mobile devices.