Marketing & SEO

Understanding Built-In Virality In SaaS Product Marketing

MotoCMS Editorial 4 April, 2023

SaaS products that take advantage of modern marketing techniques, like viral loops, often grow faster than those that don’t. For example, SurveyMonkey, one of the oldest SaaS products, uses viral loops; many successful SaaS companies, including Slack, Mailchimp, Calendly, and Zoom, also use viral loops. While it is true that all products eventually reach a point in their lifecycle where growth begins to slow down and even plateau, built-in virality is one of the best ways to delay this onset for as long as possible. This article highlights the various aspects of built-in virality in SaaS product marketing, demystifying it for the average Joe and Jane.

What Is Built-in Virality in SaaS Product Marketing?

Although it seems complicated, built-in virality in SaaS product marketing is deceptively simple. In essence, built-in virality in SaaS product marketing is any product-led growth strategy or idea that uses existing user relationships, word-of-mouth marketing, social sharing, and other marketing approaches to spearhead exponential or viral growth.

SaaS businesses can use different marketing methods to achieve built-in virality. However, the most commonly used strategies fall under two primary brackets: pull and push product virality.

Pull Product Virality

This virality type occurs when existing users and customers spearhead product awareness and growth within their network. Often, this involves social sharing, organically-driven growth, word-of-mouth marketing, email sharing, etc.

Push Product Virality

Push product virality happens when a SaaS product goes viral because of a company’s direct marketing effort. At a simpler level, a SaaS product achieves push product virality when they go viral because of the business’s use of direct marketing methods like paid advertising, email marketing, content marketing, etc. Viral loops, which we’ve already mentioned, are another core concept in built-in SaaS products’ virality and marketing.

Understanding Viral Loops

Like built-in virality, viral loops are not as technical as they sound. Fundamentally, a viral loop is any user/customer or company-driven process that motivates SaaS product users to share the said product with others, either within or outside their circle. A viral loop starts when one user invites another into the product, and then that user invites another user, and so on until the product experiences viral growth. This process can be short-lived or indefinite.

Now you understand built-in virality in SaaS product marketing, how it works, and its most common types. However, as you can imagine, built-in SaaS product virality is a nuanced subject with many interplaying elements.

The expert’s guide to SaaS marketing has a defined roadmap covering everything you need to know, including how it differs from traditional marketing, the ins and outs of creating an effective SaaS product marketing strategy, and more. Another important thing we need to understand about built-in virality in SaaS product marketing is why it matters:

Why Does Built-in Virality in SaaS Product Marketing Matter?

Built-in virality matters because when users/customers like a product so much that they share it with others (pull), and a company implements a good marketing strategy (push), the results are exponential growth, or what we call viral growth. Additionally, built-in viral loops are a great way to build an engaged community around a product. For example, motivating users to share their product experience with others is a viral awareness strategy that can lead to unexpected brand recognition.

How Does Built-in Virality in SaaS Product Marketing Differ from Social Media Marketing?

First, social media marketing is just that: social media marketing. In contrast, built-in virality is a marketing paradigm that uses various pull and push product virality strategies, including social media marketing, to achieve exponential growth. Additionally, SaaS products that implement viral loops often automate the virality process. For example, when a user successfully signs up, the built-in viral loop can automatically trigger some processes, like sending an email reminding them to share the product with their network— and perhaps get something in return, like a referral commission.

In contrast, while social media marketing has a degree of automation, it is not as robust as a viral loop because it often requires active management—that’s why we have social media managers. Moreover, built-in virality and viral loops are often more focused and effective than social media sharing. For example, whereas SaaS products can use social media marketing features like demographic targeting to reach an intended audience, this outreach is often not baked into a product.

Contrastingly, and as suggested by the phrase, built-in virality is a baked-in-development process that calls on product development teams to build and test viral loops into the product during development. This integration can make all the difference, especially because of the automation of it all.


We have covered a lot about built-in virality in SaaS product marketing, what it is, how viral loops work, why it matters, and how it differs from social media marketing. The key thing to remember is that a well-executed SaaS marketing plan that uses well-optimized viral loops can help SaaS products achieve exponential customer, product usage, and brand growth.

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Tags: digital marketing online marketing SaaS model
Author: MotoCMS Editorial
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