The concept of virality is simple but seldom seen in effective implementation. True virality results from growth by user recommendations at the rate of more than one new customer per existing customer. Products are rarely consumed virally and the reason for this is that businesses have totally separated development and marketing department.
Virality requires you to build a product specifically targeted to meet the requirement of a specific segment of the audience. There’s no way you can sell products by aggressively forcing people to use them, that technique is a sure failure. At the same time, you can’t sell a high quality product without letting people know how it benefits them.
If the viral mechanics that do not contribute in improving the user experience, the product ends up in becoming just publicity stunts or having inauthentic features of which people aren’t familiar enough to be fascinated by. If companies don’t increase the product’s utility based on user interactions, people don’t get sufficiently motivated to recommend it to others.
One factor to consider for enhancing product virality is user networks. Viral growth propagates through user networks, but only those that are large enough to a certain extent and at the same time have members sharing sufficient level of relevance. It would help if the connections shared within the network are fairly static like common interests, profession, friendship etc. which people are likely to share for a long period of time.
Viral growth is facilitated by interpersonal interactions between the users. Products that allow different users to connect with others can grow by having their existing users invite others they know to use that product. But this is not always the case, there are games that allow users to connect with other players but in that case, they aren’t too much motivated to invite people from their real world network as it does not have much effect on the value of playing experience whether or not they have interpersonal interaction with other users. For a product to grow, it needs to have interpersonal interaction among the users.
A viral invitation is also dependent on the customers’ retention rate which in turn is dependent on the product’s quality. Users won’t recommend a product to others until they are actually fond of that product and sufficiently familiar with it since their reputation is at risk too. A high quality product is much likely to retain well.
People accept a viral invitation based on the number of invitations they receive. It will interest them more if they find it recognizable, useful and relevant. Viral growth requires you to make the product interesting and recognizable to the users.
The Bottom Line
- Increase the product’s utility on the basis of user interactions to increase user recommendations.
- The size of user networks along with the quality of connections matters for the propagation of invites.
- Interpersonal interactions among the users can facilitate viral growth.
- Customer retention rate affects the number of invites sent out.
- People are more likely to accept invites if they find it recognizable.