Measuring Viral Advertising
Buzz, word of mouth, viral, guerilla. Call it what you will but it is all really the same thing and it has been around to a long time. It has been proven to be the most trusted form of marketing and advertising. Who are you going to trust more, an ad or a recommendation from a friend? But for marketers, determining what effect word of mouth plays a marketing program is elusive.
Until now. David Godes and Dina Mayzlin put out a study on this very topic.
The study is not new. In fact, it was published last spring. But, it is just now receiving notice. The point these two make is that the effectiveness of buzz should not be based on pure volume (number of mentions) but on dispersion (how and where that message travels). Is talk of the new Apple ibooks within Apple discussion groups all that important? Or is the same discussion within PC based discussion groups more important? It is the latter, Godes and Mayzlin contend. The important metric is how fast and far the message is dispersing. Not how much the message is being discussed.
Read more on this topic in the Boston Globe and in the HBS Working Knowledge newsletter.