O'Reilly logo

The Handbook of International Advertising Research by Hong Cheng

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

10

Viral Advertising

A Conceptualization

Petya Eckler and Shelly Rodgers

Introduction

Viral advertising and viral marketing have been ubiquitous buzzwords in recent years with numerous brands planning or having already employed such strategies. Viral is considered the digital equivalent of word of mouth, which involves gaining access to social networks that will voluntarily pass along an advertising message at no cost to the advertiser (Pastore, 2000; Welker, 2002; Wilson, 2000).

Despite the proliferation of campaigns, a lack of understanding exists about what viral marketing entails and how it differs from viral advertising. The terms “viral marketing” and “viral advertising” are used interchangeably in the trade press and scholarly literature (e.g., Kaikati & Kaikati, 2004; Shirky, 2000) despite noted differences between the two concepts (Eckler & Rodgers, 2011; Golan & Zaidner, 2008; Porter & Golan, 2006).

A more precise definition of viral advertising is needed to advance research and inform practice, with clarification about how viral advertising and viral marketing differ. This chapter will provide a conceptualization of viral advertising. We begin with a brief overview of viral marketing: the context within which viral advertising has emerged. Then, we offer a definition of viral advertising and provide a discussion of its key characteristics. Next, we offer an historical perspective on viral advertising with key industry examples. Last, we highlight the scholarly literature in ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required