The Emotional Drivers of Highly
Successful Viral Content
By Kristin Tynski
Join us on Twitter at #Mozinar
Questions or pro...
Viral Marketing – Don’t Try to Do it All
Sales
Funnel

Usefulness

Relative Ease Successful?

Awareness
Interest
Evaluatio...
Viral Marketing – Best Fit

*From SmartInsights.com
What About The Bottom of the Funnel?
Branding
Brand Impressions

Search
High Visibility

Brand Followers

Social Sharing &...
How Do We Define Viral?

K = Ratio of the number of new viewers brought in due to the sharing of each viewer.
•Almost noth...
Defining Viral Factors
Defining Variables

Shared Audience (p)
Conversion Rate (c)
Shares Per Viewer (i)
Total Organic Vie...
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Increasing
Shared Audience

Shared Audience (p)
Average number of people
who are exposed...
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Increasing
Conversion Rate

Conversion Rate (c)
Percent of shared audience
(p) that are ...
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Increasing
Shares Per Viewer

Shares Per Viewer (i)
Percent of people who see the
conten...
Do we Need Truly Viral to Find
Success?

NO!
Success Even When K<1

Nearly all content considered
“Viral”
Doesn’t actually meet the true
definition of viral growth of
...
When the Magic Happens
When you are able to get i,
p, and c high enough, their
product will bring k>1, and
you will see a ...
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Audiences
6 Types of Sharers – Differing Primary Motivations

Altruists
Careerists
Hipst...
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Audiences
Bored at Work and Bored in Line – A Key Audience
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Audiences
Niche vs. Broad – Both Have Value
Niche Audiences
• Content MUST appeal to the...
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Audiences
Understanding the relationship between
audience types, accountability and shar...
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Audiences
Broad (or large cohesive niche) and accountable is a good target
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Audiences
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Audiences
Facebook is most important for several reasons
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions
Evoking emotions is essential in viral content. Why? Because
emotions themselve...
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions
Not all emotions are created equal. Some are better than others at
improving Sh...
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions
Surprise and Interest are the chief emotional
drivers in the New York Times Stu...
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions
The emotions of the top 50 viral images on Imgur.com last year.
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions
Emotional arousal is created and enhanced through empathy.
Empathy is created t...
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions
Leveraging Emotions - Upworthy

Topical Focus:
Community
Diversity
Economy
Ente...
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions
Leveraging Emotions - Buzzfeed

Emotional Categories
Lol
Win
Omg
Cute
Trashy
Wi...
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions
Leveraging Emotions – ViralNova

This site is run by a single individual, posti...
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions
Leveraging Emotions – Gawker
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Titles
Single biggest factor in improving Conversion Rate (c)
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Thumbnails
Second biggest factor in improving Conversion Rate (c)
Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotion Stacking
Aligning With Other Motivations for Sharing
New York Times – 5 Primary Motivations for Sharing
Email: Kristin@frac.tl
Twitter: KristinTynski
Website: Frac.tl
Find this recorded #Mozinar and slide deck at http://moz.co...
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The Emotional Drivers of Highly Successful Viral Content

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Harvard Business Review contributor and VP of Creative at Fractl, Kristin Tynski discusses the internal research into the emotional activators that are at the heart of viral content. She shares specific examples of how to apply these emotions and dive into the insights learned from the success of other emotional content innovators from across the web. She describes actionable tips for creating content that can gain major sharing traction, mainstream pickups, and viral success.

Published in: Marketing, Technology, Business

The Emotional Drivers of Highly Successful Viral Content

  1. 1. The Emotional Drivers of Highly Successful Viral Content By Kristin Tynski Join us on Twitter at #Mozinar Questions or problems? Email community@moz.com
  2. 2. Viral Marketing – Don’t Try to Do it All Sales Funnel Usefulness Relative Ease Successful? Awareness Interest Evaluation Commitment Referral Extremely High High High High High Easy Difficult Extremely Difficult Extremely Difficult Extremely Difficult All Few Very Few Almost no one Some *Know your goals, and know what viral can realistically accomplish*
  3. 3. Viral Marketing – Best Fit *From SmartInsights.com
  4. 4. What About The Bottom of the Funnel? Branding Brand Impressions Search High Visibility Brand Followers Social Sharing & Links Brand Advocates Improved Search Ranking Captive Audience Move Down the Funnel Move Down the Funnel
  5. 5. How Do We Define Viral? K = Ratio of the number of new viewers brought in due to the sharing of each viewer. •Almost nothing called “viral” actually is.
  6. 6. Defining Viral Factors Defining Variables Shared Audience (p) Conversion Rate (c) Shares Per Viewer (i) Total Organic Views Organic Growth Type Viral Cycle Time k = i*p*c
  7. 7. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Increasing Shared Audience Shared Audience (p) Average number of people who are exposed to the content for each share.
  8. 8. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Increasing Conversion Rate Conversion Rate (c) Percent of shared audience (p) that are exposed to the content and then actually click on it.
  9. 9. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Increasing Shares Per Viewer Shares Per Viewer (i) Percent of people who see the content that share it.
  10. 10. Do we Need Truly Viral to Find Success? NO!
  11. 11. Success Even When K<1 Nearly all content considered “Viral” Doesn’t actually meet the true definition of viral growth of having a viral coefficient (k) greater than 1.
  12. 12. When the Magic Happens When you are able to get i, p, and c high enough, their product will bring k>1, and you will see a truly viral effect. Notice the exponential nature of the curve. Play with the tool featured here: http://frc.tl/viral-equation
  13. 13. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Audiences 6 Types of Sharers – Differing Primary Motivations Altruists Careerists Hipsters Boomerangs Connectors Selectives
  14. 14. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Audiences Bored at Work and Bored in Line – A Key Audience
  15. 15. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Audiences Niche vs. Broad – Both Have Value Niche Audiences • Content MUST appeal to the niche audience. Broad Audiences • Lower sharing limitations • Niche audiences typically have higher values for p,c, i , because they are more tightly interconnected, and shared content Is more likely to resonate due to shared ideals, values, and interests. • Content must be broadly appealing • Typically lower values for p, c, I • Big seeds can be more easily leveraged
  16. 16. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Audiences Understanding the relationship between audience types, accountability and sharing General Audience Types: Anonymous Audiences Accountable Audiences Casual Audiences Professional Audiences
  17. 17. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Audiences Broad (or large cohesive niche) and accountable is a good target
  18. 18. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Audiences
  19. 19. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Audiences Facebook is most important for several reasons
  20. 20. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions Evoking emotions is essential in viral content. Why? Because emotions themselves spread virally as an inherent part of the way our brains work, a function of mirror neurons.
  21. 21. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions Not all emotions are created equal. Some are better than others at improving Shares per Viewer (i). Increasing shares per viewer is the key To creating a viral effect. High arousal emotions are essential.
  22. 22. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions
  23. 23. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions
  24. 24. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions Surprise and Interest are the chief emotional drivers in the New York Times Study.
  25. 25. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions
  26. 26. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions
  27. 27. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions
  28. 28. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions The emotions of the top 50 viral images on Imgur.com last year.
  29. 29. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions Emotional arousal is created and enhanced through empathy. Empathy is created through human narratives and stories Most Common Empathy Narrative Themes: Love Loyalty Perseverance and overcoming obstacles Raw human moments Making the most out of what you have Rights of passage Heroes and selfless acts Vengeance and villains get what they deserve Injustices made right Changes of heart Human-animal bond Evolving morality Nostalgia and Reminiscing Connection to and importance of nature
  30. 30. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions Leveraging Emotions - Upworthy Topical Focus: Community Diversity Economy Entertainment Gender Guns & Crime Health Immigration Inspirational LGBTQQ Military Parenting Politics Science and Tech Spanish Workonomics
  31. 31. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions Leveraging Emotions - Buzzfeed Emotional Categories Lol Win Omg Cute Trashy Win Fail WTF
  32. 32. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions Leveraging Emotions – ViralNova This site is run by a single individual, posting emotionally resonant content each day.
  33. 33. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotions Leveraging Emotions – Gawker
  34. 34. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Titles Single biggest factor in improving Conversion Rate (c)
  35. 35. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Thumbnails Second biggest factor in improving Conversion Rate (c)
  36. 36. Improving the Viral Coefficient – Emotion Stacking
  37. 37. Aligning With Other Motivations for Sharing New York Times – 5 Primary Motivations for Sharing
  38. 38. Email: Kristin@frac.tl Twitter: KristinTynski Website: Frac.tl Find this recorded #Mozinar and slide deck at http://moz.com/webinars very soon!

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