Viral Ads: Why They Go Viral

August 25th, 2021


viral marketing
When we talk about viral marketing and content, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Cat videos?

Vin Diesel’s love for family? 

Kermit the Frog sipping tea?

These are things that have been viewed and shared millions of times worldwide and are excellent examples of viral content. But how exactly did they go viral? And what the hell is viral marketing anyway?  

You have questions, and we have answers. Read on as we explore viral marketing to uncover why some ads go viral and others don’t. 

WTF is viral marketing? 

Viral marketing sounds like an advertising trick that combines the flu and sneaky advertising tactics. But it’s so much more than that.

Often referred to as the Holy Grail of promotion, viral marketing gets its name from its ability to spread content insanely fast —you know, kinda like a virus. Hence the name viral marketing. 

The magic of this technique is that viral content is shared organically—people like what they see and share it with others. There’s no clickbait and no bullshit—just word-of-mouth momentum. With viral marketing, the consumers carry out the “marketing campaign” through sharing, which gains likes, views, and retweets. In this case, after a viral marketing campaign is launched, the advertiser is often left with very little to do besides sit back and watch the fruits of their labor grow a thousandfold. 

All of this sounds pretty sweet, right? Well, we don’t mean to burst your bubble or anything, but going viral is incredibly difficult to achieve. Less than 1% of marketers achieve the coveted “viral” status — and “luck” has a lot to do with it. 

Cool — hit me with the benefits! 

Viral marketing helps brands get tremendous exposure, visibility, and much better traffic, resulting in increased sales revenue and more moola in your pocket. And when you’ve got more dough, you can spend it on important things— like puppies and snacks. Hell, you can even upgrade your Hulu account to the ad-free version! 

Or, if you’re aiming for consistent business growth, you can always dump those funds right back into your company and pay for a killer marketing campaign that will put your brand in front of the masses. 

Here at Nowadays, we can help you dominate your space on social media — through our Social Scripting™ process, your content commands attention, makes a strong impression, and goes viral. And when you go viral, you’ll get more sales (aka more cash money to spend on anything that tickles your fancy). 

Although rolling in the dough is more than enough of a reason to start viral marketing, here are a few other awesome benefits:

Low advertising cost 

It really doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg to produce something that people want to share. Sometimes, it’s the simplest ideas that resonate the most. And when done correctly, it can give you an amazing ROI. 

Incredible reach

Going viral means your content takes your brand much further than you might expect. In fact, a viral marketing campaign has the power to reach out to a global audience. And the best part? It happens organically, so even small budding businesses can get massive exposure. 

Builds credibility

As more people recommend and talk about your brand, your credibility is increased among your audience. The remarkable and loud buzz that’s generated will undoubtedly help boost your recognition. 

Viral marketing is superior among other advertising methods because they’re not invasive in nature. They don’t push, force, or coerce a potential customer to make a buying decision post-haste. Instead, viral marketing merely generates interest, and the decision to buy is ultimately made by the viewers holding much better credibility than its other advertising counterparts. 

Why some viral marketing campaigns are FIRE and others are flops

We’ll be honest with you — there is no magic formula to “going viral.” Sometimes it takes a whole lot of trial and error to get it right, and other times it’s nothing more than sheer luck. 

That said, here are a few reasons why some ads go viral and others don’t:


You should know your target audience better than you know the back of your hand. You should also have a significant amount of common ground with them to effectively spread your content. By understanding what pushes your audience’s buttons, you can help them see how your brand fits into their existing worldview. 

Simply put, if you don’t know your audience and what interests them, your content won’t resonate, and they won’t take action. 


In a society obsessed with obligations, productivity, and metrics, people long for golden opportunities to reconnect with their humanity. Humor, anger, romance, nostalgia, sorrow – these emotions stir our blood, remind us who we are and that we’re human, and motivate us to connect with each other on a deeper level.

Your viral marketing content needs to touch souls, trigger emotions, and make people feel alive. If it doesn’t, there’s a pretty good chance it won’t go viral. 

Shock factor 

Our noggins are wired to pay extra close attention to anything that violates our expectations. So you can take advantage of this and make your message stand out by doing something in a surprisingly different way. Whether it’s a bold statement, an out-of-the-ordinary image, or an unexpected outcome, try to find your own way to incorporate a little shock factor into your content and watch it go viral. 

Takeaway’s about Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is pretty unpredictable. You can’t always tell right off the bat what will spark interest, and sometimes, content goes viral for the wrong reasons (remember Pepsi’s ad featuring Kendall Jenner?). 

That being said, with careful planning, a little patience, and Nowadays in your corner, you can boost your chances of success tenfold. 

Here at Nowadays, we understand going viral is an art. It takes effort, orchestration, and emotional intelligence. That’s why for each campaign, we meticulously write a script featuring tension, surprise, and delight. You see, we specialize in emotions that make people take action — whether that’s sharing your branded video or downloading your app.

You’ve got the brand. We bring the drama — and the results. All of our campaigns are organic and rely on no incentives, so your views, followers, and installs are top-shelf quality, baby!

Ready to ride the new wave of advertising? Contact us today and capture influence with content that makes a mark tomorrow.

And spend less in the process. What’s not to love?