UK Accounting Glossary
Viral marketing exploits existing social networks to rapidly spread a message. Done well, viral marketing is an inexpensive marketing method with a rapid and widespread response. The term viral marketing became popular in 1997, when used to describe Hotmail and their viral marketing campaign. They attached (and still do) an advertisement for their service to each e-mail sent from their service. Therefore the very use of the service promotes further use. Viral marketing means customers spread the word just by using the service. Burger King is one company that has used viral marketing very effectively. In 2004, they created the Subservient Chicken website and then used viral marketing principles to get traffic to the site. They told just 20 people about the site. Word spread quickly (with the help of a tell a friend link) and the site received 20 million hits in the first week alone. Viral marketing succeeded by bringing in high traffic as well as widespread media coverage worth far more than the cost of the viral marketing campaign.
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This glossary post was last updated: 5th February 2020.