The Power of Viral Marketing: Grow Your Brand Organically

The Power of Viral Marketing: Grow Your Brand Organically

Viral media marketing is one of the hottest trends in communications strategy, and for good reason. Viral posts make your brand stand out in the saturated digital marketing space. Moreover, they are a low-cost and organic way to grow your audience and customer base. At Purplegator, we know how to turn your engagement from 0 to 100 with viral marketing.

Gone viral
Let’s go viral together! Source: Shutterstock

Viral marketing is especially important because it has the potential to grow small businesses’ engagement exponentially. Whether you are a multinational corporation or a mom and pop shop, you can create content that resonates and reaches virality.

F & O’s: a Viral Marketing Success

Purplegator created a viral post for Felix and Oscar’s, or F&O’s, in 2021. We used specific strategies to maximize the post’s engagement, which we’ll outline throughout this article.

F&O’s is a well known deep dish pizza restaurant in Des Moines, Iowa. Founded in 1975, it’s one of the oldest restaurants in town. Our team recognized that there were many locals who had enjoyed their pizza in the past and needed a push to recall their fond memories at the parlor.

We used viral marketing to bring back those core memories. Initially, F&O’s had 9,000 Facebook followers. We recognized that they regularly engaged with the brand’s Facebook content. All we needed was the perfect post for their engagement to spread.

Local Knowledge Brings Viral Growth

If you’re not from Iowa, you may not know that its state fair is a big deal. It draws over 1 million visitors annually–almost a third of the state’s population. In 2021, the year after the COVID-19 pandemic, the state fair was even more newsworthy. We capitalized off this buzz.

Our post for F&O’s went viral 100% organically.

As you can see, almost 80,000 people viewed this post. Even more impressive, over 26,000 people engaged with it.

Strategies to Go Viral

Here are some reasons the post went viral:

  • Our headline opened the door for engagement. Using a question encouraged people to share their opinion. 
  • Viewers were allowed to comment. When users commented on the post, it was shared with their followers. 
  • The visual invoked emotional responses. The packed Iowa State Fair generated comments and buzz 18 months after the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • The copy was short and sweet. Our copy was neutral but positive, which prevented users from criticizing F&O’s stance on the fair. 
  • We knew our audience. We used the Iowa State Fair, a statewide tradition, to boost engagement with F&O’s local target audience. 
This could be you next! All you need is a viral marketing strategy.

F&O’s experienced a 153% increase in website traffic after the post. There was also a 25.4% lift in their total customers the following month. Viral marketing pays dividends. 

Amazingly, the engagement with this post was 100% organic. We didn’t pay to boost the post even once. That’s the magic of viral marketing. 

As experts in all things mobile and social, we can make your page viral next. 

Libby Foster is a Marketing Specialist at Purplegator. She’s currently a master’s candidate in Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Alabama. 

Types of Ads

Types of Ads

When developing an app, the app marketer is inevitably going to need to be involved in the decision of: “what type of mobile app should we build?” 

Let’s take a look at the different types of apps and the advantages and disadvantages of each. 

Native Apps

A native app is software that sits on the smartphone and native apps are developed for a mobile device’s operating system (OS). That means that development must be separate for Android than it is for Apple. 

Programmers use common languages such as Java, Python and C++ for native apps.

Advantages of Native Apps

  • Faster — Because the software resides on the user’s phone, native apps tend to be very fast.
  • Reliable — Again, because the software is on the device itself, it doesn’t have to go out on the internet and look for more information before providing it via the app. There’s no concern, even if you are away from wifi; it will still work.
  • Access to the Phone — Because native apps connect directly with the hardware on the mobile device, it has access to the features on the phone such as contact, images, Bluetooth and other on-phone technologies.

Disadvantages of Native Apps 

  • Greater effort to Develop — Since you have to create an app for each operating system, the effort and cost to write code for multiple operating systems is higher.
  • Expensive — Native apps require seasoned developers to do the work and those developers are more expensive than typical web developers.
  • Cumbersome Updates — Every time that the app needs an update, the user has to accept a push notification and download the latest version of the software updates. Many users won’t bother to do this and this reduces the functionality of the app.
  • Space — Native apps hog a lot of space on the user’s phone.

Web-Based Apps

A web-based app gets its information from the interaction between the phone and its browser access to the internet. With a web-based application, there’s no software on the phone. Rather, they are responsive websites where the on-phone app is merely an interface to easily access information from the web. The fact is that a web application is really nothing more than a bookmark of a website.

Most web-based applications are written in HTML5 today while some use CSS or Ruby. 

Advantages of Web-Based Apps

  • Cheaper — Costs to develop web applications are considerably less than native apps, because there are no requirements to customize the app for various operating systems or device sizes. 
  • No Download — Changes and enhancements to the app can be made on the internet and no download is required from the user. 
  • No Space — Since there’s little software on the phone itself, the user doesn’t have to waste any of his or her valuable on device space for the app.
  • Time to Market — If you need an app to be developed quickly, web-based will be the fastest way to the end game.

Disadvantages of Web-Based Apps

  • Internet Connection — Without an internet connection, the app won’t function properly as the user requires. 

Hybrid Apps

You may have a hybrid app on your phone and you don’t even know it, because it acts just like a native app. 

Hybrid apps use a mixture of web based technologies and native APIs. Hence, they use a combination of the technologies mentioned above. 

Advantages of a Hybrid App 

  • Lower Cost — Hybrid apps are cheaper to develop than native apps. 
  • Fast — They also load quickly, although slightly slower than a native app. 
  • Less Coding — There is less code to maintain than with a native app. Only one code base is required regardless of the operating system.
  • Access to Device — A hybrid app can access typical device functionality such as the contacts or pictures.
  • Don’t Need Web Browser — Unlike web-based apps, a hybrid application doesn’t require a browser to do all of its functions.
  • Building Block to Native — If you are not sure about the viability of your app, hybrid gives you a way to create an app quicker and cheaper. You can then decide later if you wish to upgrade to a native app.

Disadvantages of a Hybrid App 

  • Speed — Faster than web-based, but not as fast as native apps.
  • Bug Fixes — Bug fixes are more difficult to solve with a hybrid app, because you are dealing with two technologies of the mobile operating system and the web.
  • User Experience — At times, the user experience is not as good as with native, because the app is not customized for the particular platform.

Monetizing Apps

There are multiple ways to monetize an app. Let’s take a look at how a business can get a return on its investment into the costly development of a mobile app.

  • Free Apps — Free apps make up 92.7% of the apps on the Apple App Store and 96.7% of the apps on the Google Play Store.  With a free app, the business is hoping that its value extends the brand’s profile in such a way that it pays off in ways other than direct app sales revenue. Or, the app exists solely based on the advertising revenue that is generated. Good Housekeeping Network’s app is an example of a free app where the value comes in the form of added promotion for the network. 
  • Paid Apps — With a paid app, the payment is made at the time of the download and the payment gives the user access to all of the features of the app. Games are often paid apps and the popular Grand Theft Auto is a paid app. 
  • In-App Purchase Apps — In this instance, apps are provided for free, but users can pay for additional services or add-ons. For example, a gaming app may charge for additional lives during a game. Eleven percent of American apps use in-app purchases. 
  • Freemium Apps — The freemium app is a derivative of the in-app purchase model. Freemium apps are free to download, but users do not have access to all of its features. They are consistently encouraged to pay for advanced features. Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby app uses the freemium model.
  • Paidmium Apps — Paidmium apps charge for both the initial download and for the additional features that are available. The Minecraft game is an example of a paidmium app.
  • Subscription Model — In this case, the user must pay a recurring monthly subscription fee to use the app. Spotify is an example of a subscription app.
  • Distribution Channel — A distribution app is free to download, but users shop within the app. Apps help make the shopping experience frictionless and enable sales of new services. Think Amazon.
  • In-App Advertising — In-app mobile advertising helps keep free apps afloat. It brings direct revenue to an app that was free to download. Many free apps use the in-app advertising model. In-app advertising is available on 26% of all American apps. In-app advertising generated $240 billion in revenue in 2020. 

As you can see, there are infinite possibilities of ways to advertise your brand. When planning to do so, it is important to keep your target audience and business goals in mind.

Mobile App Marketing

Mobile App Marketing

It’s the inevitable question that is going to come up in every marketing presentation regardless of the product or service: “how much is this gonna cost me?” Good question, but our answer is not so black and white. Let’s first discuss how a mobile advertiser can choose to purchase ads on the major ad networks — Google and Facebook. These two giants control almost ⅔ of the overall USA mobile advertising market. 


Google offers both pay per click (PPC) advertising initiated via search and it also has a popular display network that is second only to Facebook in revenue. The company’s search engine marketing, or pay per click network, is known as Google AdWords. Google’s advertising display product, known as the Google Display Network, reaches 92% of all websites and is also included within apps that sell advertising. If you aren’t sure about the difference between its pay per click and display products, this graphic will explain it for you.

Here’s a look at the average click through rate and cost per click by vertical market on Google AdWords. According to WordStream, the average click and tap through rate on Google AdWords pay per click is 3.17%. The average click and tap through rate on the Google Display Network is 0.46%. 

Those pay per click (PPC) taps, or clicks on AdWords, cost on average, $2.69 a click. On the Google Display Network the average cost per click is 63 cents. This might make you believe that the Display Network is a far better deal than pay per click is since the cost per click is so much lower. But, that fails to take intent into consideration. A tap or click on pay per click is likely lower in the sales funnel and that consumer is ready to buy now.

Google AdWords Pay Per Click

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a lot of budgets migrating to using more pay per click advertising. That’s because businesses need business NOW, and they need to be seen online. There’s no time for branding campaigns. 

Contrary to what many people think, Google determines what pay per click advertisement to show based on more than just the bid you are willing to pay. “Quality Score,” or Google’s judgement of how qualified your site is to accept that ad, plays a critical role as well. 

Google Display Network

The Google Display Network not only has the most online publishers, but it also has data that no other platform has — Google’s own proprietary search inquiries. Its targeting is greatly enhanced by its ability to add device search data to locate your best potential customers; this is a huge benefit to the advertiser and a tremendous benefit that is exclusive to Google.

Google Display enables advertisers to purchase ads three different ways:

  • CPC — Cost per click is the same way that it sells its AdWords product, only now the click or tap (mobile click) is coming from a display ad and not a search inquiry. CPC is the best way to purchase Google Display ads when the goal is to gain website traffic.
  • CPA — Cost per acquisition is another way to purchase display ads. This might be the best way for an ecommerce company to purchase on Google Display.
  • CPM — Cost per thousand impressions is the most common way that advertisers purchase on the Google Display Network and it is usually the most efficient way. If your goal is branding, CPM is usually the best way to purchase ads.

The Google Display network also enables an advertiser to purchase ads via dayparting. With dayparting, your ads will only appear at certain times. In a retail environment, many advertisers only advertise when the store is open. Hence, CPMs may be higher during normal business hours than in the overnight hours. If your goal is branding, you can garner a significantly greater amount of impressions if you purchase the off hours when many retailers are closed. Remember, with mobile, there’s no prime time anymore; small businesses can play on the same field as large, national companies. 

On the Google Display Network, expect to pay about $6 CPM for most advertising buys. Of course, this can be significantly higher or lower depending on the target market. If you desire to reach high income people, or those with specific job titles, that CPM rate can be anticipated to double.


If you can only afford to do one thing in mobile advertising, make it Facebook advertising. When people go to Facebook, they are typically in relaxation mode: maybe taking a break from work, or having some down time after a long day. This is very different from advertising on Google Display or many of the other mobile display networks where the intent of the user is to find specific information. If you are seeing an ad on the ESPN app, for instance, it could be that you just made a wager on the game and are intensely determined to learn the outcome. That makes you inherently less likely to want to tap on an ad there, because your focus is elsewhere. Not the case with Facebook when you are on “me time.” This is why Facebook advertising works so darn well. People are ready to tap through and ready to pull out their credit card to make a purchase on the spot.

The other thing that makes Facebook advertising so effective is that the ads are right in your News Feed, just like the posts from your brother or your high school ex-girlfriend. They take up 100% of your mobile screen so you can’t miss them. Since Facebook knows so much about you, the ads are usually fairly native, meaning that the advertisement seen is likely for a product or service that you are already interested in.

With an average click through rate of 0.90% and a cost per click of $1.72, Facebook advertising provides an excellent opportunity for advertisers, especially small businesses that don’t have a very large budget.

Take a look at the average Facebook interaction rates in various industries. These statistics are a good starting point for creating interim KPIs if your business doesn’t have previous experience with Facebook advertising.

Cost per action, more often referred to as cost per acquisition (CPA), averages $18.68 across all Facebook categories. Of course, this varies greatly depending on a number of factors, including competition in the industry and the average ticket price of the product.


Since Facebook owns Instagram, you can use the same platform to advertise on Instagram as you do on Facebook. In fact, unless you choose otherwise, Facebook will adjust your budget allocation between Facebook and Instagram based on the engagement that you are receiving. If you are doing better on one platform than the other, the platform will push more to the side that is showing greater engagement. This also does magic for your business because people also use Instagram, along with Facebook, in their down time.

The great advantage of Instagram is that engagement is incredibly high — 10x greater than Facebook.  This is great for a business branding campaign. Think about how you use Instagram. You scan the images of your friends and businesses that you follow and you probably like a very high percentage of them. The high engagement rate of Instagram bodes well if your campaign is about branding. 

While engagement is usually significantly better on Instagram than Facebook, Facebook does tend to sell better for ecommerce products than Instagram does. It’s no surprise then that 80.4% of all ecommerce traffic from social media comes from Facebook. 

Facebook & Instagram CPMs

Cost per thousand impressions on Facebook and Instagram vary widely based on the market you are attempting to reach. RevealBot provides an analysis of the 2020 Facebook CPMs it experienced on Facebook. You can see a downturn after COVID-19 was discovered in March 2020, but then a recovery of the CPM rate as the year progressed. That recovery was no doubt in part due to record spending on the presidential election. 

WebFx has a different analysis of average 2020 CPMs for Facebook display advertising. It pegs the average at $7.19. (WebFX, 2020) One might attribute the difference to the type of clients that each company has that may alter the average CPM.

Bob Bentz is president of mobile-first digital agency Purplegator. He is also an adjunct professor at West Virginia University where he teaches the graduate level course in mobile marketing.

What is Mobile Marketing?

What is Mobile Marketing?

How do you strategize a mobile marketing campaign? Let’s look at the four pillars of mobile marketing to build your basic knowledge.

Along with everything else in life, success in mobile marketing does not just come out of the blue, you must earn it.  Website traffic, conversions, value and tracking are the four pillars of mobile marketing that act as a strong foundation for every influential campaign. Below is a deeper look at these terms, defined by President of Purplegator and author of Relevance Raises Reponse, Bob Bentz.

Website Traffic

Obviously, if you aren’t getting any traffic to your mobile website, it’s going to be difficult to be successful. If you’re just getting started, this is the first place to focus. You also need the right kind of traffic as well, because traffic is fuel for mobile marketing. Remember, with mobile and digital, it’s not always what your batting average is, but how many hits you get! It’s not just the quantity of traffic, but the quality of mobile traffic as well. 


As mentioned above, you can get all the traffic in the world, but what you really need is conversions — usually identified as the ability to convert leads into sales. Here’s where A-B and multivariate testing comes into play. Sometimes the most subtle change will increase your conversion rate (your batting average) resulting in more conversions (base hits). Always be testing and you’ll always be improving!

Assume for a moment that you convert 7 of every 1000 visitors to your website (0.7% conversion rate) into paying customers. Imagine what it could mean to the bottom line of your company if you increased that to 0.9%!


Now that you’ve increased your conversion rate to 0.9%, let’s determine what the value of that is to your business. We’ll assume your average customer value is $100 and there is no cost of goods sold. Hence, you are bringing in $900 in sales for every 1000 visitors. Hence, you are earning 90 cents for every visitor. 

How much does it cost you to obtain that traffic? Your pay per click costs are averaging 42 cents per click on Google AdWords. Therefore, you have a positive ROI on AdWords and are profiting 48 cents per click. See how working backwards gets you to your interim KPIs?

Simple math, but important math. If you are not good at math, stay on the creative side of mobile.


Without tracking in place, you’ll be flying blind in your mobile marketing efforts. The boss is going to want to know the return on investment (ROI). The good news is that it’s quite easy to track the financials of every aspect of a mobile marketing campaign. It’s one of the great advantages of mobile versus buying traditional advertising — it’s highly trackable.

Once again, website traffic, conversions, value and tracking are the four pillars of mobile marketing. Build a strong foundation and prioritize these valuable skills to achieve your goals in mobile marketing.

Now is the Time to Reach Busy Parents & Campers on their Mobile Devices

Now is the Time to Reach Busy Parents & Campers on their Mobile Devices

Summer Camps have a tight window of opportunity in which to attract, engage and acquire their primary audience – busy parents. At the same time, many camps also need to be marketing to the campers themselves with a very different message and focus. With so many marketing and media options available, be sure that the focus is on the right message to the right person on the right devices for maximum impact resulting in full camp sessions.

Generational Marketing goes Mobile

Traditional advertising in newspapers, postcards and even television commercials may not be the best way to reach your intended audiences. Today’s teens are mobile natives and will turn to mobile, their device of choice, when doing research on what camps catch their interest. This group often prefers images and videos rather than articles. They would respond well to short clips showing the grounds, the staff, and highlights of some great activities. Culture is very important, so be sure to showcase the unique culture and atmosphere that you offer. Their parents (and their grandparents) are mobile savvy as well. A recent Pew Research study shows that 89% of people ages 30-49 have a smartphone. 85% of adults get their news on a mobile device. Highly targeted advertising on their mobile device via social media and search will reach them while they are in the stands at a sporting event, at lunch with a friend, or waiting in line as they use their phones.

Social Media Tells the Story

Teenagers spend nearly 9 hours a day on 

social media. According to Pew Research 2017 data, nearly all adults use social media platforms. 88% of adults between the ages of 18-29 use Facebook and 59% use Instagram. 79% of 30-49 year olds use Facebook. Social Media is the place they turn to be informed, entertained and educated. A well -developed Facebook page and Instagram with robust images and great video allow you to tell the story of your camp, your staff andyour activities. The challenge is this: How do you get people- the right people – to actually see your posts?

How Do You Get Your Message in Front of Your Audience?

Facebook’s algorithm typically shows your posts organically to between 0.5 % and 1.5% of the peoplewho like your page. If your page has 7,000 likes, that means between 35 and 105 people will see your posts. What about the other 6,900 people who have liked your page and want to know more? Boosted Posts are an option if you’re looking to increase likes, comments and shares. Display Advertising is best if you want to reach a highly targeted audience with a specific call to action – Call Now, RSVP to an Open House, Sign up now, etc. Detailed targeting allows you to reach key demographics by age, income level, zip code, online behaviors, etc, meaning no wasted ad spend. It allows you to reach your most ideal audience on the device they have within two feet of them for 22 out of 24 hours in the day.


To learn more about social mobile advertising for your summer camp, please contact us via your method of choice: email us, or call us at 610-688-6000