Identifying Active Members in Viral Marketing Campaigns
Adobe Acrobat PDF
Viral marketing campaigns (VMCs) are promotional tools whereby companies seed products with select groups of consumers in the hope that these consumers will spread information and marketing materials about these products. Despite the growing popularity of VMCs, it is not yet fully understood which consumers a company should target when planning a VMC. Information on at least two types of consumer characteristics is often available to managers: (i) product-related characteristics that capture a consumer's relation to the product, brand, and category, and (ii) social characteristics that measure a consumer's social connectivity and perceived social influence. Using data from two real-world VMCs covering different product categories we identify which of these consumer characteristics managers should use to select seeds with greater levels of activity. We find that social characteristics — which are not campaign-specific — are better predictors of activity compared to product-related consumer characteristics, and that product-related characteristics do not add predictive power above and beyond social characteristics. Moreover, social characteristics may be used to identify some of the more active members in a campaign based on data from another campaign.
Source: Working Paper
Toubia, Olivier. "Identifying Active Members in Viral Marketing Campaigns." Working Paper, Columbia Business School, 2011.