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Spreading the Love: Why Do Some Things Go Viral?
Published by Martin Communications
September 10, 2019

How does something go viral? Why do people share, like, or tweet a story? How can a household appliance like the Instant Pot become a top selling item in the US? Let’s look at a few reasons.

Marketing professor and bestselling author Jonah Berger did a lot of research on viral marketing and why some things catch on while others fail. After studying the science behind virality and uncovering some facts, we can start understanding what helps increase shareability. We created an infographic to help explain.

Emotion. When it comes to understanding what causes certain products, ideas, or behaviors to be talked about—the word “emotion” is a biggie. According to research, our emotional responses to content can play a massive role in whether or not we choose to share that content with others. The internet confirms our deep preference for emotional arousal, increasing our desire to share.

Who remembers Charlie Bit My Finger? In just under a minute, these two boys stole our hearts, made us smile and the video became a viral sensation. Time ranked “Charlie Bit My Finger” as number one in their list of YouTube’s 50 greatest viral videos. Over 869 million views, and counting, of a random family moment caught on video. Why do we love watching these two adorable brothers? This video moved us and most of us with siblings could readily identify with it. 

Being an insider. Have you ever been out with friends who know of all the cool places in town? They show you that trendy place with a hidden door that opens to a secret room? Professor Berger calls this social currency, or the desire to share things that make us look good. This kind of content makes us look smart, and who doesn’t want to be the most knowledgeable at any given moment or time?

We share because we care. A New York Times research study of 2,500 people report that 94% of people considered how the information they share will be useful to the recipient. If it’s valuable and entertaining—share, share, and share some more. Afterall, we want our friends and family to pay attention, right?

When was the last time you shopped online and looked at the reviews before purchasing anything? Ummm…every time, right?  This is word-of-mouth (WOM)—well, more like word-of-writing (WOW!) The star ratings that you see on products or services can make or break a product or service. In fact, 88-percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Powerful stuff.

Our job at Martin Communications is to reach and communicate with consumers through engaging, successful and creative campaigns. We enjoy spreading the love—as much as you do!



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