Last updated on January 23rd, 2024

Trekking the Viral Mountain — The 3 Steps to App Virality

Pardeep Kullar
Pardeep Kullar
Trekking the Viral Mountain — The 3 Steps to App Virality

Making anything viral requires work. But, is there a secret behind it? Mada Sadhete takes you through 3 key stages to drive app virality that worked for her app.

*This article is part of the ‘*[*How To Create a Viral Video for Your Boring Product*](/blog/how-to-create-a-viral-video-for-your-boring-software)*’ series by *[*Upscope*](*, a service to effortlessly guide website visitors from sign up to purchase using modern instant screen sharing.*

1. Referrals/Incentives

Picture onboarding like a mountain: the bottom is where the users who have never heard of your app are, the journey up the mountain is awareness.

At the top, they are on the verge of installing the app, and installing the app is jumping off the edge of the mountain.

Referrals help a customer move up the mountain quickly. However, it is never the only solution for virality.

If the person sending it and the person receiving it get something out of it, they’re in fact less likely to share it. People would instead share something with the intention of purely helping someone else.

2. Ego

We are more likely to share things when it reflects the image we have of ourselves, so having an app that appeals to someone’s ego means they are more likely to share.

3. Emotion

Interesting topic -> research it -> create content from it.


Content that has never been seen before.


Having an opposing view on something can bring about active feelings of anger, and sharing it with someone else is an expression of the emotion.

Anxiety and fear

Fear of missing out (FOMO), fear of failing, these work because not only are people scared of missing out on something, but they are likely to share because they don’t want other people to miss out.


Happiness is an emotional driver to share, happiness spreads just as laughter does


Particularly useful for e-commerce sites. Targetting customers who have shown interest, gradually exposing them to your product, and using the other two techniques to get them to buy it.


My thoughts

Exclusivity can play a major part in making something more appealing and doesn’t cost anything. It’s alluring because someone knows something you don’t, someone has seen things that you haven’t. This plays on the emotions of anxiety, fear, and lust, and once you have been let in on the secret, there’s joy and awe, with a feeling of importance — playing on people’s ego.

We’d all rather be in on something than on the outside peering in, companies are aware of this and use it to their advantage.

One of my favourite examples of this is Crif Dogs, a hotdog restaurant in Brooklyn. From the outside, there’s not really anything distinctive about it, but once inside, behind a phone box, there’s hidden a bar.

The strange part is that Please Don’t Tell bar has never spent a penny on advertising, and yet a reservation is one of the most sought after in New York. It’s the non-secretive secrecy nature and the human need to pass on a secret that helped the bar gain attention.

Word of mouth is a powerful thing because it relies on the trust between the person telling and the person listening, and combined with this secrecy, makes it all the more attractive.

Like the article? See what Josh Elman has to say about product virality.

Pardeep Kullar
Pardeep Kullar

Pardeep overlooks growth at Upscope and loves writing about SaaS companies, customer success and customer experience.