This data-based book on viral marketing explodes a number of common myths and popular practices by comparing actual results with campaigns and subjecting them to scientific scrutiny. Although relatively short, it is ideal reading for anyone who is serious about building up expertise in social media, as opposed to simply claiming credit for good luck.
Karen Nelson-Field and her co-authors explore a number of aspects of viral marketing. Instead of focusing on analysis of the most successful campaigns, the authors look at the characteristics of a wide range of campaigns. They point out that the well-known examples appear to press home particular practices because no-one bothers to look at the failed campaigns which also had the same characteristics.
This will not be welcome reading for people who want to believe that enormous viral reach is popular with minimal investment. The data given here shows that the amount of seeding is critical to the ultimate reach, and costs may not be substantially less than traditional marketing approaches. This should hardly be a surprise, because cost-per-click and other mechanisms are designed to find their own level.
This is an excellent book. It does not give 'ten top tips for viral marketing', but rather presses the reader towards insights based on analysing the results for themselves. In an industry full of self-styled pundits, this is a welcome antidote, powerful and intelligent.
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