The Science Behind Viral Marketing


Going viral is the best way to get tons of traffic and attention to your website.

I will be honest with you. It is not easy. You must work hard and be persistent like a Honey Badger.

The good news is you can reverse engineer viral articles, videos infographic or other pieces of content.

At the end of the article, you will find what content types perform best and which emotions generate social engagement – shares, likes comments, etc.

What Happens One Hour After Drinking A Can Of Coke



This infographic got 160,000+ visitors in July and 110,000 in August according to It also accumulated a ton of links to the original post and insane social shares count. You can learn more about it from this article – Viral Link Building: How To Create A Link Explosion (With A Can Of Coke). 

What Happens to Your Body One Hour After Eating a Big Mac


This one is similar to the first infographic. According to, it tripled traffic to almost 300,000 unique visitors for September.


Ship Your Enemies Glitter


Ship Your Enemies Glitter

                                                            Ship Your Enemies Glitter generated $20,000+ in sales and 2.5 million visits in 4 days and became hugely popular viral site overnight! It is a service, which delivers an envelope, filled with glitter to one of your enemies for the small fee of $9.99. 

It was featured in The Daily Mail, Entrepreneur Magazine, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, ABC News, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Yahoo!

The mastermind behind the website is 22-year old Mathew Carpenter who sold his business on Flippa for $85,000 just 18 days after it live.

Our Blades Are F***ing Great

Dollar Shave Club offers shaving products delivered to customers doors on a recurring subscription. Their viral video has over 21 million times. Dollar Shave Club got 12,000 orders in the first 48 hours. They could score more if the traffic from Youtube didn’t crash the company’s servers.

This Unicorn Changed the Way I Poop

Squattypotty’s video was watched by 6,500,000+  people just 5 weeks after it was published. It presents their product in an amusing way and also explains how Squattypotty can help us to be healthy. 

Baby & ME by Evian 

Evian started their first successful viral campaign in 2009 with Roller Babies, but their 2013 ad Baby & Me scored big. It notched more than 114 million views on Youtube and helped the brand to expand its popularity.

How to Tell if You Have Bad Breath

College student Jeffrey Harmon put together a video to promote OraBrush tongue cleaner. This video has almost 25 million views since it is published. The budget was just $500. You can’t get this results with paid advertising, right?

Girls Don’t Poop

Jeffrey Harmon and his brother created an even more successful campaign for This video reveals the secret of a happy relationship. This is a real product, which is clinically proven to work. This viral marketing campaign helped them to build a brand.

Harlem Shake

This is one of the most viral waves that ever happened in world’s modern history. Do you remember how Youtube literally exploded with 100s of new versions of Harlem Shake from all over the world every day?

The Happiest States In America In One Map


This infographic is published by Huffington Post back in 2013 and was a big success and became viral on Facebook and the other big social networks.

Viral Marketing Benefits

  • Create massive brand exposure and free press
  • Drives tons of traffic
  • Generate high levels of social engagement
  • Boost organic search rankings
  • Increase brand engagement

Push The Button

For a successful viral marketing campaign, you should push the right buttons and trigger people’s emotions. Some of the most common emotions, which create viral effect according to Plutchik’s wheel are:

  • Curiosity
  • Amazement
  • Interest
  • Astonishment
  • Uncertainty


Let’s dig into some real data from Buzzsumo and analyze why content goes viral. Buzzsumo analyzed 100,000,000 (million) articles and what is the most shared content on the web.

1. Long form content gets more social shares than short-form content – Blog posts of 1,500 words or more tend to receive more shares.

Posts on Quick Sprout that are longer than 1,500 words receive 68 percent more tweets and 22 percent more Facebook likes.



2. Having at least one image in your post leads to more Facebook&Twitter shares – According to Blog Pros study the top 100 popular blog posts averaged one visual image for every 350 words.
3. Invoke awe, laughter, or amusement. Appeal to people’s narcissistic side
The most popular 3 emotions invoked were: awe (25%) laughter (17%) and amusement (15%).
4. People love to share lists and infographics
Most shared formats are:
  • Lists
  • Infographics
  • How to articles
  • What posts (title starts with the word “What”)
  • Why posts (articles that try to answer a “Why” question)
  • Videos

*Note: All Content is the average shares of all content analyzed

5. 10 is the magic number for lists  These lists had 4 times as many shares on average than the 2nd most popular list number:23.
6. People share content that looks trustworthy
A byline at the beginning of every post, and a bio at the end to make your content look trustworthy. This doesn’t make a difference on Facebook but on Twitter, Linkedin, and Google+ we prefer to share content from reliable sources.
7. Get influencers on your side
Not all shares will generate the same effect. Find influential people who will amplify your message. For example, you can see what happened when Rand Fishkin tweeted my article: 116 SEO Myths to Leave Behind in 2016 
8. Timing matters
The day of the week and even the hour have a big effect on how much people share your content. You should post updates on social media when your audience is online. You also must figure out when the influential people who can share your content are online and send them an email at the right moment.

Are you ready to create your first viral piece of content?

Let us know if you have any questions and comments!

The Science Behind Viral Marketing

by Danny Donchev time to read: 6 min