Going viral refers to an image, video, or piece of information that is quickly and rapidly circulated on the Internet.
Viral marketing or advertising refer to marketing techniques that enables websites or users to pass on a marketing message to other sites or users.
This creates a growth in the messages visibility and effect.
Viral marketing uses the enhanced network effects of the internet and mobile networks.
Successful examples of something going viral include the black and blue or white and gold dress that spread around the internet in February 2015.
Typically something has gone viral after triggering intrigue, debate, or controversy across the Internet. It often comes from the posting of media on social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook.
What about viral advertising?
Viral advertising on the other hand, is a personal service that businesses do not necessarily pay for the distribution.
Viral advertising looks to tap into the success of the viral social media post. Essentially viral advertising is an advert that has become incredibly popular.
Examples of this include the Old Spice ads, or the Three UK dancing Pony.
Viral advertising looks to tap into the social networking reach of individuals. The hope is that if the video is popular due to it being funny, or surprising, that it will be shared widely across these networks.