Propagators, Creativity, and Informativeness: What Helps Ads Go Viral

Sarit Moldovan, Yael Steinhart, Donald R. Lehmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research explores characteristics that make consumers more likely to circulate ads. We focus on (a) the main transmitters of the viral content which we refer to as propagators, consumers who are more socially connected and active, and (b) two key ad characteristics: creativity and informativeness. Results from field data and two online studies show that propagators may wish to elevate their social status and therefore circulate ads that are both creative and informative. Since propagators spread ads to many people, ads that are both creative and informative are more likely to go viral compared with ads that are only creative or informative. These results extend previous research on the role and preferences of propagators and emphasize that, contrary to common beliefs, ad creativity alone may not be enough to drive a successful viral campaign.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-114
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Interactive Marketing
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Marketing


  • Advertising
  • Creativity
  • Influentials
  • Informativeness
  • Opinion leaders
  • Propagators
  • Social hubs
  • Viral ads


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