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VIRAL MEDIA

What’s your viral loop?

Understanding the engine of adoption. BY ANDREW CHEN

What’s a “viral loop?” A term I’ve heard tossed around frequently in real life, but not in the blogosphere is the term “viral loop.” In fact, when googling it, I only saw one mention from Jia Shen, a very smart guy: “The viral loop of people inviting each other to most social networks revolves around a user posting a widget to their page and having friends see their page. The viral loops for Facebook (there are multiple) revolve around the news feed, the mini-feed and the invite request. Not around people coming to your page and interacting with it.” Anyone who cares about this topic should read the entire VentureBeat article Q & A with RockYou — three hit apps on Facebook, and counting. And of course Jia is speaking at the upcoming Viral Marketing conference put on by Noah Kagan of CommunityNext.

What are some examples? Let’s look at some great examples of viral loops done right.

1. First off, the user will likely hit a MySpace page with the widget in place. 2. If they like it, they will click and hit a landing page on Slide.com. 3. The next step is to suck down the pics from their accounts, arrange/decorate them. 4. Now when you hit “Save”, it takes you to a page where you can upload your widget simply by putting in a MySpace username and profile (without leaving the site). 5. Then it immediately shows up, but not before the “Post a bulletin for all my friends” checkbox, which is defaulted to checked, fires off a bulletin to all your friends. In the scheme of things, Slide is great because the total number of pages you spend between clicking onto Slide and telling your friends is 3 pages at most. That’s fantastic. And note the great use of AJAX which reduces the number of context-jarring pageview changes, but instead feels like a natural interaction. Honestly, I’m surprised that the entire set of pages isn’t AJAX to make the experience that much smoother. Now let’s look at the viral classic, YouTube.

To define the viral loop, you can think of it as: The steps a user goes through between entering the site to inviting the next set of new users. Simple enough? Well, because this core loop is repeated so many times over generations and generations of users, getting it right is incredibly important.

Viral growth rate is a compounding process, so the difference between a 80% dropoff and a 50% dropoff is huge spread over 1000s of viral loops.

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1. Again, the first encounter will probably be a video embedded in a page. 2. If they like it, at the end of the video there’s an embed code that can be directly copied. 3. Or, if they don’t want to embed or e-mail that video, other videos are recommended at the end of the process so that people can try those, and potentially embed a different one … and so on.

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Viral Business Guide: ViralVenturesMag.com  

This free guide is to help people make their business a viral success online. Our focus is on Business Intelligence, Digital Design, and Phi...

Viral Business Guide: ViralVenturesMag.com  

This free guide is to help people make their business a viral success online. Our focus is on Business Intelligence, Digital Design, and Phi...

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