Viral Marketing Strategies: The Basic Viral Marketing Plan

April 22, 2008 - Get free updates of new posts here

I have written in the past about how people include “viral” in their marketing plan but are missing the point of what’s really happening. Your site can be growing but not viral! Shocked? How can this be. What is viral marketing? Remember there is no secret formula.

Not Viral Model

link to photo
10 people join your site *
10 invites sent per person sent *
10% of those people convert to new users =
10 new users to the site

10 new users / 10 original = 1 viral coefficient / virality level (whatever you want to call it)

Viral means that for every person that joins they bring at least more than themselves. It’s kind of like going on a group date with 1 other person. Viral grows in pairs.

Viral Marketing Plan and Model

10 people join your site *
15 invites per person sent *
10% of those people convert to new users =
15 new users to the site

15 new users / 10 original = 1.5 viral coefficient / virality level

General Viral Formula
X * Y = virality level / viral coefficient

Things you can do to make viral:

improve x:

    figure out a way to get them to send more invites. Or return more times to be able to invite more often.

increase y:

    work on ways the recipient is more likely to accept an invite.

This is part of a series called “Learning Viral”. For the other posts in the series click below:

Learning Viral: What my Brita taught me about Commitment

Learning Viral: The Leech Method

Learning Viral: Add-on or Natural

Learning Viral: Track Everywhere from

Learning Viral: Viral Emails of

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3 responses to “Viral Marketing Strategies: The Basic Viral Marketing Plan

  1. Aniq Rahman Reply


    In theory the first model is still viral though isn’t it? (because if the 10% that signs up gets 10% of their friends to sign up – you’re getting a greater than 1:1 return with regards to the absolute – but I guess if your metrics of relative scale are different, then you’re right)

    I think that overall though – engagement for something will increase over time after people hear about something. For example, I wouldn’t have signed up for StumbleUpon or LinkedIn a few years back if nobody was on them and the content wasn’t there. Virality is definitely impacted by the size of network and familiarity that the user has with the platform.

  2. Eva White Reply

    Good way to increase traffic to the site. I think Orkut basically grew out of this system. I would have never joined had 3 different friends not sent me invites