Viral Cycle Time Marketing

We’ve made it! This is the last step in our guide to Creating Your Viral Marketing Engine. Well done. Clap, clap, clap and all that jazz.

Do you feel any different? You should. You’re practically a viral superhero (almost).

By now, you’ve gotten to know your viral factor (or K), and how good of a friend it can be to your growth (and your valuation). You’ve also learned how your amplification factor (or A) will be an even more practical measure when it comes to day-to-day growth.

That said, A and K will NOT be the KPIs that have the most profound impact on your viral growth.

Let me explain.

Completing K to Reveal Virality


K is a key measure of the magnitude of your virality (also known as the overall growth potential your viral engine has IF time were not a factor). However by itself, K will NOT predict your actual viral growth over time.

Why? Because as it stands, it’s an incomplete equation. For example, if you asked the question:

“If I get 10 new users today, how many new users will they bring back to me total?”

You might have a shot at a ballpark figure using K and A. However, if you asked the question:

“If I get 10 new users today, how much will my total user count grow over the next 20 days?”

You would have NO way of answering . . . yet.

This question can’t be answered with just K because K doesn’t factor in time in any way. To get projections like this, you need to complete the picture by factoring in two new KPIs:

  1. Viral Cycle Time (or ct)
  2. Time (or t)

Good Growth Takes Time To Prepare


Viral cycle time (ct) is the amount of time it takes for a user to become aware of your product, then go through all of the steps required for them to reach the point where they invite a friend or colleague to it.

Viral Cycle Time User Acquisition Graph

Most ct equations you’ll be working with will be measured in days. But for practicality reasons we’ll convert things into minutes, or weeks, when necessary so they’re easier to understand in future chapters.

For example, say you have a ct < 1 day. For our equations to work out, this has to be represented as a decimal-based fraction of 1.0 to get many of our higher-level equations (that we’ll go into shortly) working as planned.

This means that a ct of 1 day = 1.0, while a ct of 12 hours would = 0.5, and so on.

Got it? Good.

What’s Next?


Okay, this chapter was a shorty, but an importantie (and yes Mom, I know that’s not a word).

I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t I say at the start that we had reached the end of Creating Your Viral Marketing Engine. That’s true. But just like any good viral loop, in order to keep on growing we need to end with a new beginning.

Over the past few sections we’ve touched on various methods for gathering viral data about your marketing campaign. This was to help ensure the viral engine you had just created was working properly. But that was just a primer.

Now that your viral marketing engine is going full speed ahead, it’s time we put it to the test and pit it up against the best of the best in the viral game.

So let’s get right back on that track and go around again.


Can You Quantify Your Viral Growth?

So you’ve successfully built your viral marketing engine, got a kickass viral loop that branches out endlessly, and are walking around telling everyone you’re a Viral Hero. But do you have any concrete data to prove it? Better head on over to the next chapter.



What did you think of this article?

  • Do you have any other questions about building your viral engine?
  • Is there something you want clarification on, or a step you’d like to review?
  • If Viral Panda could have one superpower, what should it be? (Other than virality.)

Hit me on Twitter, or comment below.


Travis Steffen
Viral Buttons by UP