This 28 page study of the effectiveness of online recommendation based viral marketing strategies is a pretty dry and technical read. Yet it is illuminating in a sort of hypnotic fashion. Here are what I found to be the highlights of the study’s findings…
- Viral marketing via the internet recommendation system is not as effective as originally imagined.
- Smaller, tighter niche groups are better fits for viral marketing than broad general market consumer groups.
- Received recommendations have a personal saturation point after which the probability of success declines. (too many rec’s result in a resistance behavior)
- The vast majority of recommendation networks are extremely shallow (those who bought on a rec rarely ever then reccommended the item to another third party).
- The more two people exchanged recommendations, the less effective those recommendations were at initiating a buying action. (this breaks several conventional wisdom models. oops.)
- If you had an anime DVD that caught on in the recommendation game you pretty much printed money.
- Here is the final sentence of the study authors…
Finally, we presented a model which shows that smaller and more tightly knit groups tend to be more conducive to viral marketing. So despite the relative ineffectiveness of the viral marketing program in general, we found a number of new insights which we hope will have general applicability to marketing strategies and to future models of viral information spread.
What does this mean to the ever hopeful independent animator? I have my opinions, but I figure why not open it up for discussion in the comments? So, fire away!