What are the disadvantages of viral marketing?

Viral marketing also has its limitations. Viral marketing is considered to have the following disadvantages compared to other media:

  • Viral campaigns are tough to create: Viral campaigns have to be original, relevant and balance the company’s brand and commercial messages with being funny, gross and sexy.
  • Viral campaigns are not repetitive: “Let’s to the same viral as last year” does not work. While many promotions can be repeated, viral marketing campaigns in general cannot. Of course, there are exceptions where virals have had follow-up campaigns or reworked versions, like the ones of Old Spice.
  • Viral campaigns are hard to measure: To make things worse, many viral campaigns are difficult to measure. Videos are copied and messages repeated. After a while, it may be difficult to discern the original message from the buzz.
  • Viral campaigns are uncontrollable: While a company has full control over paid advertisements, viral marketing campaigns cannot be turned off once released. The virals are controlled by the masses. They determine whether a campaign actually goes viral and whether the sentiment around the viral is positive or negative. As a result, a viral campaign can also backfire, resulting in actually damaging the company’s brand, harming the company’s relations with its suppliers, partners and customers, and resulting in law suits.
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