Psychology Behind Going Viral

Viral Marketing Strategies

Viral marketing is a method of advertising that uses word-of-mouth or referral marketing to spread knowledge about a specific goods or services offered.  This message spreads across the Internet landscape at an exponential rate. (of an increase) becoming more and more rapid.

When a piece of marketing material reaches the point where it is shared by more people and more people it is said to be “viral.”  Your information, video or article picture, or meme will appear in several social media feeds if you can succeed in doing that.

Scientific & Psychological Evidence of Ways to Create Viral Campaigns

Many experts claim that while there are many marketing strategies that aim to make something go viral, but it’s often unclear exactly what does so. These writers assert that going viral largely rests on luck, there are moments when you may control how likely it is that your content will go viral.

However, in an article “Why People Share” : The Psychology Behind “Going Viral” by James Currier · @jamescurrier · Feb 2021 he outlines a specific formula for going viral  He also asserts these amazing facts:

1.  From 2000-2006 he ran the world’s largest psychological testing website  With  5 psychology and statistics PhDs on staff at the company, the  goal was to develop a system for understanding human motivations in order to get products to go viral.

2. The project was a success. Over years of studying psychological research and running experiments, they mapped 27 human motivation clusters, many of these help when companies want people to share their product.

3. was able to virally grow their user base to more than 150 million people.  At the time there were only 1B people on the Internet.  Today the Internet boasts over 500 Billion users

4. helped 12 companies grow their user base to 10 million users each.  Poshmark and Goodreads are listed as two of the companies.

5. The company contends that Viral Growth is rooted in base psychological principals and language.

In this article we will share 8 of the motivational clusters he presented from this article that were used that caused people to share content. 

This information is useful to marketers so they can create viral marketing campaigns to make the campaign more shareable and more viral.


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