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Viral marketing

Viral marketing uses Facebook, Instagram and other social media to spread a message. Which target groups are in focus and what role does the recipient of the advertising message play in viral marketing?

What is viral marketing?

Viral marketing refers to a type of advertising that spreads almost by itself due to a high entertainment value. The self-running advertising is suitable for corporate branding or campaigns.

“Viral” describes the characteristic of spreading, which is likened to an infectious virus: Once infected, the virus spreads on its own between contacts.

How does viral marketing work?

Viral marketing works with certain elements to trigger and entertain an AHA effect. One of the first successful viral campaigns in German advertising history is the music video “Supergeil” with Friedrich Liechtenstein.


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The special effect is achieved by the video in which an elderly gentleman surprisingly presents his own form of “coolness” in a song that equates the certain status of his life with shopping at the Edeka chain. With more than 20 million views on Youtube and a rapid increase in the search term “super cool”, the effects were felt even in the USA.

Typical elements and character of viral campaigns:

  • Humor
  • Clips with short film character
  • Collaborations (e.g. with influencers)
  • Music clips
  • Emotional impact

Target group in focus

Social media enable a very precise target group analysis, e.g. with regard to origin, age, gender or surfing behaviour, and thus offer good conditions for promoting campaigns in a targeted manner and evaluating their effect.

The age group of millenials can be identified as the core group for viral marketing. This is why viral marketing and millenial marketing intersect: Deliver a story that the group can identify with and rehash it in such a way that it can be quickly noticed and shared on social media and mobile devices.

The Millenial age group today includes those in their 20s to late 30s, potential customers with an affinity for technology, growing purchasing power, and a high level of activity on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other platforms.


Activity on the target groups’ social media enables campaigns to go viral. While viral marketing is often kick-started by paid ad placements, most of its reach comes from the active spread of users themselves.

The recipient of the marketing becomes the sender at the same time. It is important that, as with Millenial Marketing, the target group can identify with the message and share experiences, emotional backgrounds, entertainment or a laugh.

Viral marketing: possibilities and limits

Viral marketing is great for giving a company a new coat of paint and exuding a certain image. Besides corporate branding, it also succeeds in promoting campaigns.

Viral marketing doesn’t always have to be the super image campaign that is shared millions of times around the world. Even good content that reaches circles of potential customers due to its topicality and high information content can have a big impact without a large budget.

The limit of viral marketing becomes apparent when concrete information is to be offered. The task of viral campaigns in social media is rather to arouse interest in order to sift out customers later. With viral marketing, as large a circle as possible should be made aware of a brand or a product.

It is always important to give good content the initial spark in the right places:

Nothing goes viral on its own, you need to push your message to your audience so they can share it. When you get a great piece of content whether it is in writing, a video or an infographic which resonates with your audience you need to get it in front of that audience. https://www.

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