The Two Faces Of Viral Marketing – Advantages And Disadvantages

Like any other strategy, there are both advantages and disadvantages to viral marketing.  Before choosing to take it as a marketing strategy, you need to carefully weigh up the pros against the cons.  Here are some of the issues that viral marketing presents.


Viral marketing helps reach very large audiences in a very short time.  This is a beautiful dream for every marketing manager who is looking for valuable brand recognition.  What’s more, with the way the internet is structured, you can even get to target who sees the advert.

Facebook, for example, has advanced tools it uses for its paying adverts to give them exposure to a certain chosen demographic of clients.  This ensures that you reach your target market exactly the way you want to.

However, when you carry out certain kinds of viral marketing campaigns, you cannot control who sees your message.  When your marketing campaign relies on people spreading the word, your message will inevitably reach where it cannot be used.

Imagine you have a viral video but your company is based in the US.  No matter how much a person in India is drawn to purchase, they cannot do so simply because your message got to the wrong part of the world.


One of the biggest considerations when weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of viral marketing is the cost.  Here, the viral marketing strategy trumps them all.  It is very cheap to set up an email campaign as opposed to an expensive advert on local television.

What’s more, now you can post your videos free on major social sites like YouTube and promote them using Facebook, Twitter, My Space, and other social sites.  This makes the cost very low compared to expensive prime spots during the Super Bowl, for example.

We have seen other under-dogs take the world by storm using very cheap, viral marketing techniques online.

Even with these free services, it is important that you get it right.  If your viral marketing strategy is ineffective, the true cost of it is measured in the time wasted.  Also, it is difficult to calculate the effect of a viral campaign, especially if your company uses other methods too.


Viral campaigns are all about speed.  They are beneficial especially if you are looking for a method of quickly spreading the word about your product.

However, this bears the greatest advantages and disadvantages of viral marketing in that bad news spreads just as fast, if not faster.  You must be careful about what kind of viral message you are sending out.


The viral campaign is not supposed to make you simply get many people to share your video, blog or e-mail; it is supposed to make sure that you get sales.  Many marketers lose sight of this important fact when constructing their viral marketing strategy.

While the message may get you brand recognition, ensuring that this is converted to sales is more important.  It is therefore crucial that you get the right message that will be both viral and inspire action out there.


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