“Have you seen that viral content on Instagram? So much laughing, I even shared it with lots of people!”

“That brand always has viral ads each Ramadan. The best tear-jerker moment every year.”

Familiar much?
Similar chats and comments above are often heard in our regular conversations since viral content is a thing that happens every once in a while in our daily life. Aside from the tear-jerker approach, the content can be anything; comedic conversation, witty narration, anger-breaker moments, or simply anything that caught everyone’s attention and pushes the urge to share it with other people.


Years ago, the word “viral” was considered closer to the health category, referring to virus activity. Who would have thought that nowadays “viral” is a common term used daily by us? In this case,  we are referring to the content of social media that is circulated widely and quickly.


The advertisers somehow are seeing this phenomenon as a spotlight and a must-have item within their marketing agenda.


There we find countless briefs to the agency with boldly marked objectives: to go viral! Create ads that go viral, craft a campaign that goes viral, and make a catchy phrase that goes viral. And so forth.


Before you join that viral-minded gank, please spare some time to read this article. Let’s see from a closer look what animal is this “viral” thing, and how are we supposed to respond to this?


  1. Going viral is never the objective

This mindset can jeopardize the way we see our target audience. For the sake of being viral, we are busy on larger segments which are not our main focus because we want to attract everyone.


  1. Bye relevancy!

What happens if you are not focusing on your own target audience? Yes. The relevancy is not there. People will not stay with us for a long time, let alone make a purchase. Even if they do convert to make a purchase, it is more likely out of curiosity instead of a repeat purchase. Meanwhile, repetition is vital in the business.


  1. See from a different perspective

You can always engineer content and make sure it goes viral. There are some shortcuts such as; play around the gray area of unethical issues, controversial approaches, super big amounts of  giveaways, etc. Or you also can try the longer route with a proper preparation of a campaign. But any of that, will not result in a strong foundation for your branding process and no guarantee to support your lower funnel (conversion to purchase). Ads that go viral are vehicles. Not a destination


  1. People get bored faster than you predict

Last but not least, do not forget that the magic within viral ads is not going to stay powerful for a long time. Viral content usually fades after four weeks and gets replaced by newcomers.


The key is, better to see “going viral” as an earned success. It is not the end of our journey, and also not the final destination. Going viral is more of a bonus you get when your primary objective is achieved.

These all can be proven by the data and several case studies where viral content is quickly dying down and replaced by other content. What matters the most is sticking to the real objective in the first place. Making viral content is just one of many many activities businesses can do. Just like running a marathon course, the first thing first is to check where the finish line is, how long should you run, right? Instead of focusing on what style you are wearing to run. Sharpen objectives, comprehensible strategy, clear approaches, and thorough step-by-step to create a holistic problem solving


There you go, now you know whether  “going viral” should be prioritized on the creative brief objective or not 😀