Contagious Content

Have you caught the bug ? The viral bug that is.

Over the past fews years viral trends have become a day to day phenomenon on the internet. One of the most recent viral videos to hit the net is the Harlem Shake. With hundreds of different harlem shake videos on YouTube it makes you think, why something so simple and hilarious has become such a world wide internet hit.  Students at the University of Guelph have recently posted there own interpretation of the Harlem Shake (posted below). Only two weeks have gone by and the video has already been viewend over a staggering six million times. This brings forth the big question of what makes drives any online content to go “viral.”

To begin, the best question to ask is:

What does viral mean?

Most people when asked what viral means would most likely name some specific online media that has spread over the web. A video or other widespread online media can go viral when it becomes an overnight internet sensation by the use of social media sites like Facebook, YouTube…etc. The main concept of viral content is that the content is spread quickly from person to person mainly through the use of the internet. As Problogger says when something has “gone viral it has been “well received and widely shared”.

Why does content go viral?

There are four simple reasons for why content goes viral

  1. Simplicity
    If something is simple to comprehend and broken down into easily understood pieces it is more likely it will go viral then some overtly complicated content.
  2.  Relatability
    Everyone likes to relate to each other in different ways. The more relatable your content is to the worldwide audience the more people are likely to want to spread your content for all to see.
  3.  Impact
    The content has to make some kind of impact on the individual viewing it; be it anger, happiness or contemplation. The scale of the impact will determine if they see the content fit to be shared with others.
  4. Location
    The location where the content is published is significant to its viral success. If it is YouTube or social media sites, depending on the tastes of audience that the site caters to is going to decide whether the content takes off or not.

Viral Marketing

Almost every household worldwide today has access to the internet. With smartphones at our disposal the internet can be carried around through hand held devices. With the type of exposure we have to the internet everyday it is not unthinkable to bring marketing campaigns to the net. One way this is accomplished is through the manipulation of viral content.

A new emerging marketing aspect that grasps at the fundamental use of viral content is the business of viral marketing. Viral marketing was described quite well by Urban Dictionary as “An online marketing strategy that encourages people to pass on a marketing message. Amusing and low budget, a good Internet Viral campaign will get internet users passing forwarding the ad to all of their friends and others, giving the company great word of mouth. ”

Below is a great video to further explain what viral marketing is.

Now that you have some idea into what exactly viral marketing implies this fantastic infographic from Problogger goes into the nity gritty of what viral content is and how viral marketing utilizes this content. Click on the thumbnail of the infographic below to view the full infographic.

Summarizing some of the main ideas from the infographic; viral marketing’s main goal is to attempt to go above and beyond the restraints of cost. By utilizing the internet which can be used at no cost, viral marketing is one of the best ways to advertise virtually free of charge.

Top Ten Reasons We Share Content Online

As the name suggests viral content should be like a virus; once it gets going it is difficult to stop but easy and quick to spread. One of the key components to successful viral marketing is to provide content that the public will want to share. Based off of many sources here is a complied list of reasons individuals share content with others.

1. Funny

When something is entertaining and provides a good laugh, who doesn’t want to spread the humour around for all to enjoy. This category can inlcude embarrassing content which is included on a few of the lists for why we share content online.

2. Mind Blowing
Those videos or photos that just astound you and you can’t help but want to flabbergast someone else just as much as you were when you first viewed the content.

3. Emotional
If the content touches you in some way it’s natural to want to share that feeling with others.

4. Opinion
We each have our own opinions and thoughts and when we find an article or video that touches on our beliefs we like to share it with other people with the same ideas and opinions.

 5. Stop and Think
If something makes you stop and think about life by sharing it you may have passed on that opportunity for illumination to someone else.

 6. Not Too Mainstream
Content that has snuck by mainstream media is too tempting not to share with others to pass along the undiscovered stories.

7. Happy
It’s plain and simple if is puts a smile on your face, then pass it along so someone else may experience that same joy upon viewing the media.

8. Dramatic
We all live for a little drama and dramatic content is the juiciest to pass along.

9. Risky
Everyone loves to take risks and risky content is hard to forgo sharing with others.

10. Practicality
Useful content is always going to be passed along because if it simplifies something you can do if can do the same thing for other people.

The main idea behind this list is to focus on the main reasons people share content online. By focusing on this viral marketer’s can tailor how to demonstrate their products in the best way that people will want to share their product and its message.

Where to promote the shared content?

Knowing the types of content people willingly share with others is the core of viral marketing. But once a great piece of content is created the next step is figuring out where to promote it. Be it a video or photos, an article or a good joke deciding which site is most likely to cater to the tastes of the audience you are trying to provide to is what will decide whether your content takes off or not.

There are many sites to choose from and that is one of the final aspects to viral marketing; deciding where to try and promote your content with the most likely chance that it could go viral.

Viral Success

Some of the most successful viral examples today include people like; Justin Bieber, Psy and Susan Boyle. All of these instant sensations are the products of a YouTube video gone viral. Viral campaigns by companies such as Old Spice are perfect examples of viral marketing done right. Not only have viral videos launched the careers of some of today’s celebrities, viral photos like memes have become a worldwide interent trend .

Viral content can spread like wild fire once it gets going on the net. A great viral marketing campaign  takes plenty of work and development. From connecting with the right online audience, to making sure your content is share-able. But the benefits include an almost no charge advertising campaign that can possibly spread around the world.

As technology continually becomes an even bigger part of our everyday life viral marketing will continue to crop up and even become a part of our everyday life in some ways.

Lastly is a bit of comic relief  of what viral marketing could lead to in the future.



  1. maarten breuker

    We are an educational publisher in the netherlands and want to make use of the b/w drawing “viral marketing” in this article. Do you know how has the copyright of this drawing?

    • kvratz


      I am the author of the blog Contagious Content that you commented on wondering where the b/w photo copyright was from. I was just unsure which photo you were interested in, was it the inforgraphic ?


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