Product Virality for your Startup

Viral Actions

Virality is typically used to acquire new users in an application, but you can also use virality for monetization, engagement and re-engagement purposes. This post will define a few common viral actions and discuss how they can be used to benefit your application.

The 3 common Viral Actions:
• Viral Loop
• Viral Blast
• The Viral Spiral

The Viral Loop

The Viral Loop is an action which triggers circular viral reaction. A viral loop occurs when a feature incentivizes a user to perform a viral action instigated through a viral channel, that when received by the recipient instigates the same return viral action further penetrating their social network or re-engaging the instigating user.

A Viral Loop functions as a constant loop of interaction between two users. An effective viral loop occurs between two engaged users of an application. Both users mutually receive a reward for their combined interactions.

The Viral Blast

A Viral Blast occurs when a user sends out a virtual item to all users in their network. This is what we regular folks like to call Spam. You don’t have to go to Hawaii to get a good serving.


A Viral Blast can be used to acquire new users if the incentive provided is high enough. In a facebook game or application a Viral Blast would come in the form of an application request or a gift. The notification has to be interesting enough to attract new users and have enough of a reward so that users of the game are incentivized to continue sending out these gifts and requests.

The Viral Spiral

The Viral Spiral creates an exponential amount of mini-loops between groups of people, not necessarily between User A and User B. With a Viral Spiral, like a viral loop, users are rewarded for their interactions with each other.

In a Facebook game or application a Viral Spiral occurs when incentives for users to interact with each other are provided. An example would be a user to sending notifications to five other users for a reward, and those users send notifications to 5 other users, including the instigating user. 25 people have now been reached, and the cycle continues. In this example, engaged users of the game or application are prompted to respond, unengaged users have incentive to be engaged and interaction between multiple users has occurred.

Virality is not Limited to Customer Acquisition

The most important thing to note is that each viral action comes with it’s own benefits

The Viral Loop is a great way to retain engaged users, as the users repeat a core action loop amongst each other each day.

The Viral Blast is great for acquiring new users as it goes to all users. The reward or incentive you give should attract users who have not accessed the product/service/website/application.

The Viral Spiral is great way to re-engage users as players continue to interact with their application network.

Retention, Monetization and Virality

Viral Planning should plan for retention, monetization and virality. Forecasting and tracking are part of any good viral planning process.

Retention, Monetization, Virality, Viral Planning


Viral planning can retain and re-engage users through different types of rewards and incentives. Use the viral channels available to you in order to communicate with your users and pull them back into your application. Use incentive systems to get them to engage in repeat actions with their friends.


One way to monetize users is through time. In games one of the common things people pay for is to speed up their game play when they do not want to go through the grind. If you have created a grind through virality, people will pay to circumvent it.

For example, a user could be faced with accumulating 20 virtual goods which are only acquired through viral channel, or they can pay $3.

In this case the viral requirements of the game are creating a sense of value for users participating in viral interactions, and placing a price tag on how much these viral actions are worth.


Testing conversion rates with any type of viral or monetization plan is important.
• The amount of users that are acquired by users by segment
• The point in their lifecycle in which they perform these actions
• The overall economic impact of viral currencies to the application

The good thing about virality in a monetization plan is that it allows a dollar value to be assigned users who otherwise would not contribute as an engaged user. In other words, it allows you to retain and gain value (in actual dollars) from users who otherwise might not monetize.

A forecast can track as little data or as much data as necessary. The following is a short list of things to track for an application that is on Facebook.


Viral TrackingViral Planning and your Startup

Creating a viral plan that utilizes viral actions can, in addition to acquiring users, increase engagement, re-engagement, retention and serve as a monetization tool for your startup.

Virality requires thoughtful planning, tracking and forecasting. Your startup will benefit from a carefully prepared plan and tracking system. If you have any questions or are looking for consulting services around viral planning or product & monetization strategy, feel free to email me directly at

Want to learn more about Spyra? Connect with Roxanne @roxygibert

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