[Marketing] Exploring Virality

ℹ️If you'd this paper to touch on any subjects, please shoot me an email: lekan.adeyeri99@gmail.com. This is the research proposal.

People today share things, while it may seem random which things are spread around rapidly there are several factors that could be structured through mathematical models that govern which content goes viral. Some of the factors that lie beneath those mathematical models are: how much emotion the content evokes, how useful the content is, how easy is it to access the content and so forth (Berger 192). Essentially virality can be described as the chances of something being shared rapidly.

One essential component of the virality formula, the formula that models virality is the viral coefficient. First, Sophia Bernazzani a senior marketing manager at Hubspot explains a model for virality:

In rough language, the model states that the total number of new conversions (purchases, views etc.) is given by multiplying the number of customers at the beginning with the viral coefficient


The viral coefficient is the likelihood of an existing view or product user to induce an action carried out by another person. These actions done by another user vary depending on the scenario but could include a view on a video, a download on a site, a purchase at a store etc. Essentially the viral coefficient is a way to quantify the effectiveness of word of mouth (Cross 1). In addition to building communities, as partially touched on in the introduction, this research paper will mainly explore ways to increase the viral coefficient through considering how emotions evoked play a role, how cycles could be shortened, the cycle time is the amount of time it takes someone to share something, and so forth.

It could be discerned that the larger reading public is uninformed regarding the models and science behind virality through research by experts on virality. In fact, Shontavia Johnson an innovation professor at Clemson University states that one common misconception regarding virality is it’s “just the luck of the draw and the pity of internet strangers” (Wayne 1). Furthermore, it could be precisely discerned that the larger reading public is uninformed by considering how many articles ask questions such as “Can Biometrics Predict a Viral Marketing Campaign?” (Libert 1).

A myriad of outside sources will be implemented in this research paper’s research goals. In fact, sources that span across different occurrences of virality, such as media (meme, video, stories) virality, product virality, and evolutionary biology virality (viruses) will be enforced to build a complete understanding of why exactly things go viral. One research paper that will be used is Jonah Berger and Katherine L. Milkman’s What Makes Online Content Viral?. Berger and Milkman’s paper will be used to explore ways to increase the viral coefficient. Another outside source that will be used is another Jonah Berger article: Why Some Things Go Viral And Others Don't. Berger’s article will be used to explore common misconceptions regarding virality and their roots. Finally, Tony D. Sampson’s Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks will be utilized to explore the theoretical bases of vitality.