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What We can Learn From Prisma about Viral marketing How did such a simple photo filter app become so viral and how can you emulate the same?

By Rustam Singh

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Every time something goers viral on the internet world, marketers frown, express awe and shock at how something so ingeniously simple can go so famous with little to no effort spent on making it that famous. This rule is especially applicable to apps going viral in download sales number. Just look at all the apps that have exceeded expectations in download numbers recently – including Pokemon Go, Angry Birds, Candy Crush, Temple Run, Flappy Birds, MSQRD and every other that's en the world bys storm recently. All these apps have several common factors that others have tried and failed to emulate. With record number of downloads in short spans, they've marked more downloads than even the best established internet companies. What's seems to be going on?

Naturally, you want your startups app to come close to the numbers these apps have touched. Every entrepreneur and CEO's goal is to make their app or website as viral as these apps have been, which begins a vicious cycle of viral marketing all over – people will eventually promote these on their own. But how did this happen, and how can you emulate its pitch?

Keep the app ridiculously simple

Understandably, for the general public, the simpler the app is the most downloads it's going to attract. History has demonstrated the more features you load into your app, the lesser people you're attracting it to. Of course, this rule does not apply to technical apps where certainly more features are required than others, but if your platform is a simple sale and purchase format, or feedback or even a viral game designed to subtly promote your product or brand, keep the interface so simple even the simplest user that's not technically smart will be able to use.

Make your app boost something what users already use

Creating a market for your product or service is tough work. Take the easy shortcut out by offering a better or even just different way to do something users already use. Photo filters are such a persistent technology that now all smart phone operating systems offer the option right within the stock photos itself. Yet, when an app like Prisma came in the limelight, they forwarded a niche need in the market to offer a simple artist new filter – something all users were already familiar with, thus requiring little to know difficulty for new users to adopt the app.

Integrate your app with social media

Prisma's viral selling point was that literally nobody was using the Prisma generated photographs for self-keep. They were using those photographs to promote themselves, their work, others, or just about anything else using social media. Flooding Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and just about any other social website made sure users themselves end up advertising it forward.

Make exclusive teaser launches on selective smart phones

Prisma's teasing launch was exclusively limited to just the iPhone in the beginning. This itself made it a unique selling point. Android users started stating the obvious – that Prisma offers absolutely nothing new, or revolutionary, or even different than what hundreds of apps already offered. iPhone users started using it a way to tell others that they are iPhone users. All the publicity made people curious to try the app once, and once they did they were hooked.

Resist the urge to market further than needed

It's tempting to exploit and spam all social media and traditional media with spam posts about your app, but resist the urge to do so if you want to truly create an organic hype. Prism has no annoying TV commercials (yet) and neither does its official website sprouted with flashy banners and compulsive download requests. They are riding the viral wave and letting media and the users do the talking for them. Once you think you've hit a certain number of downloads mark, reduce inorganic advertising and let the virality and curiosity of the web world do the work for you.

Are you a fan of Prism or do you detest it like I do? What're your favorite viral apps of this year installed in your smart phone right now? Let us know on our official Facebook page Entrepreneur India

Rustam Singh


Tech reporter.

Contact me if you have a truly unique technology related startup looking for a review and coverage, especially a crowd-funded project looking to launch and coverage.

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