Marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message.


Viral marketing depends on a high pass-along rate from person to person. If a large percentage of recipients forward something to a large number of friends, the overall growth snowballs very quickly. If the pass-along numbers get too low, the overall growth quickly fizzles.

At the height of B2C it seemed as if every startup had a viral component to its strategy, or at least claimed to have one. However, relatively few marketing viruses achieve success on a scale similar to Hotmail, widely cited as the first example of viral marketing.

see also: Digital Marketing Tools

Related Terms

email marketing, pass-along rate, permission marketing

view all terms in the Email Marketing glossary or all terms in the Digital Marketing glossary


Udemy: Viral Marketing – learn viral marketing with online courses.


How-To Do Viral Marketing: The Ultimate Archive of Videos & Podcasts (February 15, 2012)

Tips for Optimizing Viral Marketing Campaigns
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How to Catch on to Viral Marketing
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I Think I Caught Something: Viral Marketing
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The Power of Viral Marketing
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Leveraging the Power of Viral Marketing
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Getting Viral
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The Viral Component in Online Creative
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What Makes it Viral?
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Is Viral Marketing All It’s Cracked Up To Be?
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The Care and Feeding of Marketing Viruses
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Viral Marketing: Pitfall or Windfall?
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The Basics Of Viral Marketing
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What Does Viral Marketing Really Mean?
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