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Marketers Beware: Terrifying Pitfalls of the Viral Meme

January 7th, 2015

Viral content has gone viral.

Several people, including many of my Facebook friends, have referenced or forwarded the King of Clickbait article by Andrew Marantz in the New Yorker. It’s taking off like wild fire. Yes, it’s gone viral.

Readers here may have noticed I’m obsessed with clickbait and have written about how it is denigrating the value of media and advertising. But people love the story. They read about these young viral geniuses working in their underwear making millions of dollars, and they think, “I want in!”

Be careful. There’s a lot of hype, but mostly the people making money off this are the viral hype artists, not the marketers or even the readers. One problem is the disconnect between viral content and real audience engagement. Viral content is low engagement content. The other big problem is whether or not viral content even aligns with your marketing goals. Chances are, if you are a B2B marketer or industry executive, viral content does not apply to you.