Monday, January 22, 2007

Viral Marketing and Growth (again)

Was having a conversation about viral marketing with a friend from another startup. He had a valid question regarding how long to test the viralness of a particular widget. It's an interesting thought because I think the answer has changed radically over the past year. When RockYou launched our MySpace slideshow with 6 posts on MySpace help forums, we saw viral growth (subsequent user growth day over day) immediately. But it took several months before this growth actually become material to the business (i.e. millions of users).

Things have changed a lot since then. I'd hazard that the time period for vetting viral growth has become a LOT shorter. With widgets and the process to share preferred content now well known, this process seems to be taking several weeks rather than months. Take a look at Testriffic. Last July they introduced a quiz service for social network users which didn't immediately take off. Then early October they launched Who Knows Me Best, a widget that allows friends to take a short quiz about a user and displays their scores dynamically on the user's profile. If you check the uptick of their traffic on Alexa or Compete, in three weeks the widget (and their site) went massively viral. The same could be said for Zingfu. Again, check their Compete stats. Within a month, their service clearly showed viral growth.

So net net. For anyone looking to launch widgets and generate viral growth for a site, if widget embeds and traffic doesn't accelerate within a 3-6 weeks at most, it's time to start tinkering with the app. My thoughts on what to tinker with are posted below.


Anonymous Brian Dixon said...


Another great post on widgets and growth time. Those examples are clear indicators of the powerness of widgets. We're re-working our widget process and it seems to get "sticker" as we tweak it to what users really want.
-B. Dixon

10:34 AM  
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9:53 PM  

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