Creating a Viral Campaign

Planning a Viral Marketing Campaign

The concept of “viral” content has taken over the minds of so many people.

It’s entertaining to observe when something takes off. But are there any shared characteristics among those things that briefly dominate the internet?

Surely there must be something? Is there a way to approach content development and list building like a science?

Research could be helpful in this situation by providing a validated understanding of the components of highly viral material.

The Psychology Behind Going Viral

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.

Psychological Triggers that Make Content Go Viral

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.

Pack Anicmal Psychology

1. Pack Animal Psychology

It’s all about status and exclusivity. Human beings are motivated by a pack mentality just as a pack animal. Abraham Maslow created a Theory of Human Motivation in 1943, where he identifies five levels of motivation or five needs that humans strive to satisfy. The needs are:

  • Survival,
  • Safety,
  • Social,
  • Esteem,
  • Fulfillment.

2. Make Your campaign Easy to Share

We show you an example of a viral ad campaign software that makes this process automated and effective.

3. Language

The language you use in the campaign should focus on the benefits to the user.  Even though your product may be the greatest invention since the cell phone, your language should outline the benefits to the end user more than the innovations you have created.

Ignore your ego or your own self-interest in favor of the self-interest of your user.  The results are that you show generosity and the results become mor effective.

Maarketing with Chatbots
Triggers that Engage & Motivate

The 8 Motivational Triggers

These eight motivational triggers are those identified that trigger sharing.  There are more but these are the most important and the easiest ones to implement withing a viral marketing campaign

1. Status is the major reason that people participate with many programs.  Gaining or maintaining status is a major one. The terms “belonging,” “prestige,” “respect,” “scarcity,” and “in-the-know” can also be used to describe it.

People frequently make an effort to demonstrate this by connecting with other prominent individuals. If you notice people in Social Media groups tend to respond more readily and in larger numbers to celebrities or high profile individuals within the group.

2. Identity Projection. People tend to share information that will prove helpful to their neighbors.  If they find a cheaper item, one that proves useful or helpful, we share it. There is a need to share something we feel is useful to others.

Give your users the language to explain the usefulness  of your product in a clear and compelling way,

This small fix to your language will 10x the word of mouth results. It’s the difference between saying “access an online rideshare marketplace” versus “get a ride in 3 minutes

3. Being Helpful “We are compelled to share things that we find useful because we want to be perceived as helpful and nurturing to our tribes,” writes Currier. 

4. Safety “Fear.” “Compliance.” “Prevent harm.” “Security.” Fear is embedded in the most primal part of our psychology. If we sense danger, our brain has evolved to pay attention.

People will share with their neighbors and friends when they consider something a threat. This threat can come in the form of a physical, financial or emotional theat.  This is a powerful motivator and a primary reason that individuals will share this type of information

5. Order “Organize.” “Collect.” One of the Big Five personality traits is conscientiousness — people can be segregated into two personality types that like one that is highly organized and efficient and the others who are disorganized and messy.

6. Novelty “Entertainment”. Who doesn’t want to explore the new flavor of the month.   This is personality trait identified as part of the Big Five is the wiliness to be open to new experiences.

7. Validation “Positive.” “Happy.” “Smart.” People have a tendency to share the positive and happy items that they see online 
We want to be perceived as good, smart and worthy.  Everyone wants to feel good about themselves and carbe out their own positive perception online.  

8. Voyeurism: This personality trait explains the popularity of video sites and graphic sites like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.  Voyeurism is a powerful motivation as to why people share. Another unfamiliar term used is “Schadenfreude.” “Access.”

Schadenfreude is a combination of the German nouns Schaden, meaning “damage” or “harm,” and Freude, meaning “joy.” So it makes sense that schadenfreude means joy over some harm or misfortune suffered by another.

People want others to live vicariously live through them, whether it’s showing their food or latest vacation spot or sharing a product unboxing on YouTube. To read the article in its original form please go to


It is an interesting concept to discover that successful marketing strategies are based on behavioural psychology. Going Viral is as much a science as it is a technique.  Once the marketing community understand how psychology applies to creating content that gets shared will constitutes a large part of how successful your viral campaign becomes. Our mission is to gather those components of the best viral stategies and impment them for our constituents. Once this task is completed we would have conquered a huge part of the audience building process.