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IT Tips with Marcin Kulik - Introduction to viral marketing

Last update - Wednesday, February 15, 2012, 02:01 By Marcin Kulik

I am sure most of you heard about things ‘going viral’ on the internet, but what does it mean?

Simply put, viral marketing or viral advertising is a relatively new technique that uses social networks and video sharing sites to promote brand awareness. The ultimate aim is to encourage web users to pass along the message to each other, which can see it spread widely in a very short space of time.
One of the first viral campaigns was in 1999, promoting the horror movie The Blair Witch Project. The campaign promoted the film as real documentary footage of apparently supernatural events, found in the woods after its makers went missing. The campaign was very successful and spread like wildfire over the internet: quite a success for a campaign that cost virtually nothing.
Another interesting example of early viral marketing is Google’s Gmail service. In 2004 Gmail was launched, with admission granted only to a select few. To get access, users would need to receive an invitation, and once in could send invitations to friends.
This limited-access trick used word-of-mouth to great effect, and today Gmail it is the third most popular web-based e-mail service in the world. Google banked on the simple fact that the world of mouth of your close friends and family, and the exclusive club feeling, can turn social network members into salespeople.
Read more about viral marketing, including some top tips, in the next edition of Metro Éireann.

Marcin Kulik is the owner of MK Design Studio, a creative web design agency based in Malahide Co Dublin.
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