The science behind a viral campaign

viral marketing

All brands long to go viral, but for most of them doing so is no straight road that leads them to the final destination. There is no secret recipe for the perfect viral video or a campaign and yet there are videos and campaigns that receive millions of views and recognition. What’s the secret?

Unfortunately, virality is more inclined towards art than science. While there is no tried-and-tested formula for virality, there are some elements that we see consistently and knowing what they are puts us one step closer to attaining that viral glory.  But a question that always troubles me is what is virality? Is it a mystery? A logical explanation? A detailed analysis? A process? Or a combination of all?

In reality it is neither innovation nor it is a process, it is rather a process-ised innovation repeated time and again.

It is about business success and not the digital metrics

A 100K strong and engaging fan base is useless if it is not aligned with the business communities and their objectives. The communication need not be sales oriented but should be in line with the business objectives. Focus should be on strategising the marketing in tandem with the overarching business aims.  A booming social community is of no value to a bankrupt client.

Do not speak. Be heard.

The principals for your viral campaign that need to be imbibed while you device the strategy include social currency, triggers, public, practical value and story – an emotional roller coaster.

Social currency is the shareable content that makes people look good in front of others and is emotionally arousing. Trigger is the stimulus that encourages the users to think about your product or campaign. Users are likely to participate if the participation can really be made public and is practical. They respond promptly to the stories behind the campaign as they feel connected.

Benchmarking – Know How You Really Contributed

Thus, do an effective reporting with qualitative and quantitative analysis. Let the client know about your efforts and identify how campaign made a difference to drive business growth and fulfiled the objectives.

The Delight – Go afar the Expectation

Turn the role of client servicing to client success, work towards defining client delight on the basis of the work done and the actual expectations your brand has.  Ensure to keep up with the benchmarks set by the clients and make a difference to the overall growth.

Remember, it is digital media, plan well, expect the unexpected, be on your feet all the time, breath every once in a while and keep learning! This is only logical and scientific explanation that will help you make a campaign viral.

An old example but definitely one of the best digital campaigns so far, the Taco Bell Blackout!

A social butterfly, Taco Bell had its fans and followers hooked to its social platforms and content. The brand was more like a friend to them. Gauging upon the emotional connect the brand shared with its fans their blackout campaign at the time of their app launch was a big hit.

As a part of the launch of its mobile app, Taco Bell blacked out its social media channels – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and even its website. The idea was to play up the app announcement and attract attention of the users by showing nothing but a black screen for a day. Each of those pages just had a link to the app download for both iOS and Android phones.

The tag #OnlyInTheApp encouraged the users to check out their new app and increased downloads by many folds. That hashtag was meant to illustrate that customers at Taco Bell could view and select specific ingredients for their food with the app in a way they previously weren’t able to.

The campaign not helped the brand reach the objective of maximum app downloads but had also put them on the digital map.


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