Browse Definitions :
Definition

viral ad

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A viral ad is an advertisement that achieves widespread reach because people who view it are inclined to share it among their social networks.

To go viral, an ad must offer the viewer something of value, such as information or entertainment. Beyond that general requirement, there are a number of factors that increase the probability that an ad will be widely shared. A Harvard Business Review research report recommends:

  • Keep branding unobtrusive.
  • Inspire joy or surprise to capture the user's attention immediately.
  • Build emotional ups and downs into the flow of the content.
  • Don't go over the top and make the content too shocking.
  • Target users who are active on social media and likely to be influencers.

Ads can go viral for other reasons as well, not all of which are beneficial to the advertiser. A Microsoft infographic for Office 365 provided figures for the number of employees who worked in various out-of-office situations -- such as in bed, during dinner, in the bathroom and while attending a child's soccer game -- and suggested that Office 365 could increase those numbers. The ad was featured in a Washington Post blog and widely shared on Twitter, where it was roundly criticized as a promotion of overwork at the expense of work-life balance. Microsoft's misstep underlines an important requirement of creating (intentionally) viral ads: Understand your target audience. If there's a conversation about your brand, you don't want it to be about how out of touch you are with your target demographic.

See Seth Godin's TED talk, How to get your ideas to spread:

This was last updated in January 2016

Continue Reading About viral ad

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures intended to ...

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

  • compliance framework

    A compliance framework is a structured set of guidelines that details an organization's processes for maintaining accordance with...

SearchSecurity

  • Trojan horse (computing)

    In computing, a Trojan horse is a program downloaded and installed on a computer that appears harmless, but is, in fact, ...

  • identity theft

    Identity theft, also known as identity fraud, is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personally identifiable ...

  • DNS over HTTPS (DoH)

    DNS over HTTPS (DoH) is a relatively new protocol that encrypts domain name system traffic by passing DNS queries through a ...

SearchHealthIT

  • telemedicine (telehealth)

    Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the ...

  • Project Nightingale

    Project Nightingale is a controversial partnership between Google and Ascension, the second largest health system in the United ...

  • medical practice management (MPM) software

    Medical practice management (MPM) software is a collection of computerized services used by healthcare professionals and ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchStorage

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification and is used in internally mounted ...

  • kilobyte (KB or Kbyte)

    A kilobyte (KB or Kbyte) is a unit of measurement for computer memory or data storage used by mathematics and computer science ...

  • virtual memory

    Virtual memory is a memory management capability of an operating system (OS) that uses hardware and software to allow a computer ...

Close