Leverage Incentivised Virality
Virality is a popular buzz word today; everyone wants it but only a few know the business implications of successfully leveraging it.
The working definition of virality that we’re going to refer to here is this: “the tendency of an image, video, or piece of information to be circulated rapidly and widely from one Internet user to another.”
It is something that users are driven to share and spread. The key concept to understand is the ‘drive to share’. Knowing this is required to engineer virality. Why do people share? They won’t share your app just because there’s a Facebook button there, and they won’t share it out of goodwill. Any behaviour that comes at a cost to the user, be it time or effort, needs to be incentivised.
These are some of the common sharing patterns:
1. Networks Effects Sharing
Facebook is the canonical example of this behaviour. . The more friends you have on the system, the more value you gain from it. The larger the network and the more people you can view and speak to, the greater the incentivised value. This is very close to the next pattern of sharing as well.
2. Intangible Sharing
Check out new freemium games hitting the market at the moment. They usually have a free entry point and then paid upgrade options. Or, if the user completes the desired action, like a social share, they can earn a free upgrade. This ‘upgrade for action’ is an incentive for intangible sharing. The best part of this model is that there is almost zero cost to the game developer to create this incentive. The dev pays once to create the code and then the user can complete the shares millions of times over, at no extra cost to the dev.
3. Tangible Sharing
Look at Uber and how quickly it spread throughout the world. A key to this spread was its virality. At its core, each user is given a unique code and prompted to share this code with people who have not used the service before. Uber sweetens the deal if you share it with a user and they signup with your code. Here, there’s a two-in-one incentive; when the referee takes a ride for the first time, both the referee and the new rider get free rides (usually valued at $15USD). In essence, they pay people to share the app virally. Cash is a great incentive; it motivates everyone.
The business implication is that Uber now has to pay that driver and the cash for that has to come from somewhere. Uber takes a 30% clip of each ride, so that would still be a cost of $10.50USD payable to the driver. This cost, when compared to other ways to attract users, can be quite a good value. New user acquisition cost of $10.50 is a scalable thing if you’ve raised as much money as Uber, $8.71 Billion to be accurate (https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/uber#/entity).
So, plug in a virality strategy and make sure you’ve got the right incentives in place.