I won’t pretend to understand this, but if you’re into math, I bet you’ll love it. (Howard Wahlberg, this one is for you!)
Rahul Vorha, CEO of Rapportive, has two awesome posts up on LinkedIn where he literally shows us the formula for going viral. So next time your marketing or PR department says something stupid like “let’s make a viral video!” you can show them the math and ask them to provide a predictive model for what they want to achieve – in fact they can experiment right here. Better than kittens swirling around on a vinyl record!
“What is a Viral Product?
Products acquire users via a variety of channels, such as press, advertising, and partnerships. Perhaps the most intriguing channel is the users themselves.
A viral product derives much of its growth from its current users recruiting new users. A user could recruit another through a simple invitation (“Check out this product, it’s cool/useful/entertaining!”), or directly through using the product (“I want to send you money on PayPal!”).
One of the most famous examples of virality is YouTube. Before the site became the huge destination it is today, you would most likely find a YouTube video embedded on news site or personal blog. You’d watch it, and at the end, you’d be invited to email the video to people you know, and you’d also be given code to embed the video on your own site. If you didn’t fancy sharing right then, YouTube would suggest other videos you might like, and maybe you’d share one of those. Then the people you’ve shared with would watch the video, and perhaps they’d share it with the folks they know. And so round and round this “viral loop” went, during which YouTube acquired users at an unprecedented rate.
How do we predict how our viral product will perform? How long will it take to acquire 1M users? Will we get to 10M users? What about 100M users?
To answer questions like these, we need to build a model of virality.”