Viral Content Sharing Report: How to Use this Data

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There’s a lot of data in this report and by now some of my less-statistically-nerdy readers may be asking themselves, “this is all great, but what do I do with it.”

The profiles section can be used to target specific behavioral-segments of web users. If you want your content to “go viral” with Facebook users, bloggers, or Twitter users, you can study their preferences to determine which types of content, mediums and delivery mechanisms would work best for your campaign.

The high-reach and high-frequency section can be used to understand the preferences and behavior of those web users who share more content with more people, more often. These users make very good initial seed vectors as they have the capability to spread your content further than the average user.

The motivations section can be used to design viral marketing tactics that play on these triggers, here’s a few examples (I’ll probably blog about these in more depth in the future):

Combined Relevance

A technique for creating content that seems “right up one of my friends’ alley” is combined relevance. Take two or more distinct cultural markers and combine them and the result will seem like it was custom made for people who like the individual units. An especially popular tactic in the fashion world, designers often collaborate on co-branded items or product lines. People with an interest in both brands are enthusiastic about the combination.


Allowing users to give each other gifts allows marketers to become part of the urge to remind friends that they were thinking of them. The act of giving a branded gift (real or virtual) is a social interaction that satisfies users’ needs to strengthen social bonds and can be mediated by brand creative.


A social twist on personalization and gifting, this technique allows users to create representations of other users and share them. Caricaturing hits on several viral triggers identified by the survey, including personal relevance, social bond reinforcement and thinking-of-you.

They Might Miss It

Users report feeling a sense of social duty to make sure that their friends see important items they may have missed. Play to this concern with calls to action that implore users to share the content with people who otherwise would have been in the dark with it.


Users report a common motivation for one-to-many sharing is to further a cause they believe in. By providing users with soapboxes you become the platform through which they can increase their reach (another one-to-many trigger) while supporting their cause. Adding functionality to facilitate other users to respond speaks to the feedback and conversation motivations.

Conversation Starting

Respondents said that in both individual and one-to-many contexts, they share content because it functions as a conversation starter. Actions like poking someone on Facebook are non-verbal ways of reminding your friends that you’re still thinking about them and maybe start a discussion. Gift applications function this way, but can be enhanced by adding options to allow users to include short messages with the gift.


Giving users awards or titles, or featuring them in some way can make them want to share the recognition in a one-to-many fashion to enhance their reputation.


Helping or teaching users how to accomplish a task, or make their lives easier appeals to the usefulness motivation reported by survey takers. This sort of content works well in conjunction with “they might miss it” calls-to-action.
Viral Content Sharing Report: Table of Contents