Viral marketing, also known as viral advertising, refers to marketing that seeks to exploit online trends and social behavior to produce exponential increases in brand awareness, content sharing, rapid sales and other marketing objectives.

The “viral” part of the name is attributed to the ways in which viral marketing techniques achieve promotional goals, often mimicking the spread of computer viruses through methods that trigger self-replicating behaviors, such as word of mouth. Viral spread of information online is mostly attributed to the social nature of the transmission of information on the World Wide Web.

Viral marketing differs from other advertising methods, because it is not paid advertisement. Although viral content can be shared by corporate sponsors, it doesn’t mean that the actual campaigns are paid for, nor do they need to be.
Instead, viral marketing relies on the quality of content being shared and the social outreach of the people sharing it.

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