‣ Have an awesome product
(ideally in communication or social content)
‣ Convert user growth ideas into Excel-based
hypotheses and clear user funnels
‣ Build and track each step of your funnels
‣ Get initial stream of trafﬁc
(Adwords is a great start)
‣ Optimize until every user is bringing in at least one
‣ No single feature determines the viral factor of the
‣ Instead, it’s part of a viral loop that connects a
set of functions into a cohesive motivation for the
user to tell their friends/network.
‣ If the fundamental product doesn’t drive a viral
motivation from its users, then it’s very difﬁcult to
We have Product X, how do we virally
spread it like freaking crazy!?@#$
We have Viral Loop X, what’s the right
product to ﬁt into it?
‣ Not really something in the domain of PR,
advertising and marketing people.
‣ Nor in the world of hardcore technical peeps that
can architect systems but not consumer
‣ Understanding the motivations behind user
‣ Understanding and exploiting the technical
loopholes to create viral loops
You’re not simply depending on
making something really cool so
people spread the word.
You’re making something
‣ Sources of trafﬁc
‣ Landing page views
‣ % of users that register
‣ % of users that send out invites
‣ # of invites sent out, per user on average
‣ % of invites delivered successfully
‣ % of invites read by users
‣ # of virally added users, per user on average
‣ What things do people share and what tools do
they use for communication?
‣ Files, wikis, contacts, links, information, show-offs
‣ These are your viral channels
(vs. news feeds, Facebook notiﬁcations, etc.)
‣ If your value proposition can align with a channel,
then you might make it viral
‣ Case study:
‣ First encounter is embedded on some other page
‣ If you like it, embed it yourself.
‣ Otherwise, more relevant videos available.
What’s your viral media?
‣ E-mail, Facebook newsfeed, blogs, etc.
‣ How difﬁcult is it to integrate into their surface
and what’s the response rate?
‣ If response rates are low, that means huge
difference in outcome.
What’s your funnel design?
‣ As short and accessible as possible.
‣ Each page is a barrier to leap.
‣ Assume a percentage of attrition for registration
‣ 2-3 Pages at the most.
Register Use Evaluate Share
Register Share Use Evaluate
What’s the viral hook in your product?
‣ Bad product will adversely affect viral experience
‣ Deep personal expression works best (music,
avatar, slideshow, etc)
‣ Communication mechanism (voice, text, etc)
What are the onramps?
‣ Your site
‣ User proﬁle
‣ User dashboard
‣ Between two other steps
‣ Before evaluation, if possible
20% of registered users
will import address books
Less than 5 of their friends
‣ CPM = Cost per Thousand
‣ CPC = Cost per Click
‣ CPA = Cost per Acquisition
‣ COS = Cost of Service
‣ LTV = Lifetime Value
Everything rolls back to how
much it costs you to have a
Source Ads CTR Clicks Signup % Action % Users Cost CPA
G 1M 0.5% 5k 20% 50% 500 $5k $10
Ad 20M 0.10% 20k 10% 50% 1k $20k $20
G = Google Adwords
Ad = Advertising.com
Type Options Importance
Source of Trafﬁc Ad networks, publishers ++
Cost model CPM, CPC, CPA +
User requirements Install, plug-in, ﬂash +++++
Audience and theme Horizontal vs. vertical ++
Funnel design Landing pages, length, ﬁelds +++
Viral marketing Facebook, OpenSocial, email +++++
A/B testing process None, homegrown, Google +++++
‣ How are you paying for trafﬁc? (CPM/CPA/CPC)
‣ What do the intermediate metrics look like?
‣ How does your signup funnel perform?
‣ How much are you spending for the users you end
‣ Newly registered users come in (both paid and
‣ Some % of these users convert into paying users
‣ Some % of these users send off viral invites
‣ Revenue is generated by building up a base of
‣ Cost is generated by building up a base of active
users (paying or not)
Optimization isn’t obvious.
‣ The placement of the button?
‣ The color of the button?
‣ The fact that’s it’s a button and not a form?
‣ The fact that it’s “Add to your network”
rather than “Add a friend”
‣ Paid user acquisition is usually an upfront expense
whereas the revenue comes in over time
‣ Your revenue per paying user depends on a mix of
‣ You pay “cost of service” across all users, paying,
free, visiting, etc.