With reference to the TED Talk by Kevin Allocca “Why do videos go viral?”

In continuation to one of my previous blog posts on Viral Marketing, I would like to share how Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) has positive influence over it!

Before we dive into the topic, let’s define what is IMC. It is referred as to all types of communications as well as messages linked together to the respective target audiences, through specific marketing tools used in the promotional mix.

Amount spent on desktop and mobile ads in the US from 2011- 2017. What a hefty amount!
Reference: https://www.statista.com/chart/1179/us-digital-ad-spending-forecast/

Based on statistacharts, the amount in billions spent on desktop and mobile ads are slowly closing up the gap from 2011 to 2017. With the increase of mobile usage among consumers, it is sure that marketers are keen to advertise through such platforms to reach out to specific groups of people. One great example would be youtube. In my personal opinion, youtube just like many other companies commonly use this tool to promote new things which is opt in marketing email. For youtube, if you opt this, through your email, you will receive recommended youtube videos. (To be honest, I dislike receiving email notifications from youtube. So I decided to turn it off.)

Now, let’s rewind back to 2011. What was the first viral video you’ve came across youtube? Ever wonder how do some videos manage to get viral in the first place? When and what is the trigger point to the boom in popularity?

Reference: Two hearts in three-quarter time: How to waltz the social media/viral marketing dance
by Kaplan and Haenlein (2010)

Based on Kaplan and Haenlein’s concept between word-of-mouth and viral marketing (2010), the three elements involved are the Word-of-mouth, the use of social media applications, and lastly viral marketing. Using this concept, it is applied back to Kevin Allocca’s TED Talk video.

Kevin Allocca, a youtube trends manager.
Reference: https://kevinallocca.com/about

Based on Kevin Allocca’s video, he explained that only a small percentage of videos go viral within 48 hours, and the three criteria for videos to go viral are:

  1. ‘Tastemakers’
  2. ‘Communities of Participation’
  3. ‘Unexpectedness’

Tastemakers, the first point is defined as for example, a key influential figure that would cause videos to go viral through sharing. The second criteria is where users not only enjoy the videos, they want to be part of them as well. While unexpectedness is simply having the differentiating factor that makes a particular video stand out from the rest. One perfect example Kevin shared is the Nyan Cat.

You may have seen the original nyan cat, but have you seen an international version of it? 😀
Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfYYUsA9VpE
And here’s Gangnam Style which was trending on youtube as well the following year in 2012. Psy’s face totally said it all.
Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0

With the examples listed above, I believe that IMC has an overall positive influence and it is the drive towards Viral Marketing. And viral marketing is a disease that spreads content to users very quickly, through positive word of mouth. Do you think there are implications on the use of IMC? Comment them below!


Published by kylynnlee

Final semester Bachelor of Business (Management) student at SIM-RMIT University.

Join the Conversation


  1. Hey Kylynnlee,
    I feel that having an IMC is paramount to viral marketing, I do not believe that having media campaigns go viral are by chance or a stroke of luck but it could have been a calculated move as Berger’s 6 steps have proven. With the multitude of social media or media platforms now and the utility of multiple platforms, it is detrimental to a campaign to not be consistent across the broad and the management of the content has to be spread the same message. Without a doubt, people only share things or content they found interesting as covered in the previous post and the only reason to share something distasteful would be in the form of warning or a public service announcement.

    Thanks for the good read!
    I would greatly appreciate if you could head over to my latest post about PageRankings to give it a read

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Alex! Thank you very much for your comment. Yes totally! I agree to your point regarding that media campaigns go viral by simply with a stroke of luck or by chance. Therefore, as I mentioned in the blogpost, that Kevin from the TED Talk video stated a significant or influential person has to share the post on social media for example in order to increase the popularity of the content.

      I see! Berger’s 6 steps is something new to me, thanks for sharing that! And yes I also agree to your point pertaining to the limitations of using too many media platforms to share a particular piece of trend or news. It is too saturated and the message may not be consistent as a result. And lastly, I agree to your last point that people would only share things that they can relate to, or interesting because everyone else in sharing that same piece of news and trend. However, I also believe that this function of sharing acts as a double edged sword. It can bring and spread positively to the online community, either that it can bring detrimental consequences and as a result, backfiring to the user that started it in the first place. Hence, it is important to be careful of what each of us share to such online platforms, as others are also watching our every little action.

      Thank you for your input once again. And sure I’ll read and comment on your post!


      1. Hi Kylynn, I believe IMC is crucial in driving Viral Marketing in a positive way as marketers could make use of the various types of promotional tools to help them in promoting their products. By applying the right tools, it will be more effective and perhaps can communicate the message across more easier to consumers as well. Speaking about viral videos, I do agree we what you mentioned as viral videos get pass along so quickly through word of mouth especially. The two examples you give were great examples, as I fall under the category of tastemakers which is through sharing. Often I can be upon viral videos through social media when our friends share the video online as well. I believe IMC is an important tool which helps marketers to understand more on how they wish to promote their products and what is the best way to reach out to their target audience. Keep up the good work 🙂


      2. Hey there! Thank you very much for your comment. Yes! I definitely agree with your point that using the right IMC tools, for example Social Media Platforms would communicate the message the organisations want the target audience to receive. Of course, the tools must be used selectively, and effectively. Depending on the nature of the business the organisation is, the relevant tools should be used. For example, Shopee is an ecommerce based organisation that targets mainly tech saavy customers. The millenials like us are one big group that Shopee targets in terms of promoting their new products, trends and deals. With a big following on their social media handle such as instagram, it is sure that they are using the right tool in its IMC!

        With reference to the communication model used by Coulter and Starkis (2005), it explains the type of media used so with reference to Shopee’s use of media tool which is instagram, it is able to result in high frequency and reach and with that, consumers are highly exposed to its content. Yes! I believe that tastemakers are categorised not only because they share, but because they also have a substantial number of following. If a person has sufficient number of followers for example on his or her twitter account, it is enough to have influence over the network of connections when the piece of content is shared around.

        Thank you for your lovely input once again! Below is the link relating to the diagram of the Communication Model I have mentioned for Coulter and Starkis (2005) which is found in another blog: https://archiekwablog.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/which-platform-to-choose/


  2. I think that IMC is important and has positive influence. Social media and word of mouth spread very fast. Normally, when someone sees something interesting or something that catches their attention, example it could be a YouTube video, they would share it with their friends. When people do not like something they see or when it does not catch their attention, they will not share it. Word of mouth is also important, as it can influence people. Example, if someone has bad opinion over something they see on the internet, they will tell their friends about it, and it might affect the way people see it too.


    1. Hey. Thank you very much for your comment! Yes I agree, IMC in my opinion mainly comprises of mostly positive effects towards consumers and to targeted groups of people. Sharing something on media platforms show that they are interested in the content posted in the article for example, or it could be because it is currently trending and they would want to be part of it. If the piece of news or content is not interesting enough and did not capture their attention, they would simply scroll pass and head to other types of content viewed under the same platform. As mentioned in my previous blogpost (refer to this current blogpost), viral marketing can be a double edged sword. Thus, it is very important to comment or give our opinions discreetly and appropriately. If this is not done properly, it may blow into disproportion, creating unnecessary controversy over the topic shared about. This will also bring about another group of supporters agreeing to your opinion, which does not bring a good image to you. It will backfire. Thank you once again for your input! I hope my future blogposts will bring forth better content to you!


  3. According to Seth Godin’s ‘The Tipping Point’, only 20% of your audience are the connectors, mavens and salesmen, which are the people who have the greatest tendency to spread your messages. I think that, IMC is definitely relevant to viral marketing despite Kaplan & Haenlein’s advice to avoid ‘excessive planning and intervention’. This, of course, depends on the intended outcome which viral marketing is meant to achieve, for example, memes that go viral are not usually created with the intention of monetary profit, rather it is simply meant to entertain the general audience on the channels the creator wishes to establish his or her presence. On the other hand, if we look at viral marketing from a business perspective, I believe that IMC has a lot of value as there are more serious stakes for companies when they undertake viral marketing campaigns. Depending on the target audience and media channel, businesses will need to adjust their message accordingly so as to ensure that it does not contradict with what they stand for.
    Furthermore, viral marketing by businesses is typically meant to promote their brand/products, which makes it very important to have channels of communication for viewers/customers to perhaps react or follow-up on their messages. A common real-life example of this would be people sharing a viral video made by a business on social media, followed by tagging the business, which is a form of eWOM for said business. I think that the implications of IMC are largely positive, I can’t really think of any significant negative impacts.


    1. Hey there. Thank you for the comment! This is an interesting input with regards to your theory used by Seth Godin. Yes definitely, different target audience would also have different reactions when they come across a content or trend being spread on online platforms. Yes, the intended message crafted by organisations is very important and essential to ensure the target audience can understand what they are promoting.

      Hence I also agree to your point that channels of communication plays a vital role in disseminate the message across. Tagging the business is also a great idea as a form of promoting the company and giving credit to them. I also believe besides eWOM, physical interactions with our peers would spread the message as quickly. One possible negative aspects of IMC in my opinion would be that the company does not know how to properly craft out their unique selling proposition and intended message to their target audience. As a result, there might be impact towards people in terms of misinterpreting the true message the company wants to actually show.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: