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The Science of Making Things Go Viral

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In today’s marketing landscape, the barrier to entry for creating and publishing new content is at an all-time low.

That means social networks and other distribution channels are flooded with content – and so naturally, as a way of filtering and screening our feeds, we gravitate to the content that everyone else is sharing.

These widely-shared articles, infographics, and videos tend to pique our curiosity, or they hit us with powerful “a-ha” moments. After all, these things are going viral for a reason.

Making Things Go Viral

Whether you are a marketer or an occasional writer, it’s worth knowing how this coveted viral effect comes about.

Today’s infographic comes from Outgrow, and it covers two psychological theories on what leads to viral content, why we share certain things, and some examples of winning viral campaigns that took advantage of triggering these emotions.

The Science of Making Things Go Viral

People share individual pieces of content for all types of reasons, but there are some commonalities.

According to psychological theory, content that feels novel or that fills information gaps may trigger the release of dopamine in the brain. Further, content that touches the right emotions (excitement, surprise, nostalgia, etc.) can also latch onto a viral effect.

Virality and The Brain

What role does psychology play in making things go viral?

Here are two well-documented psychological effects that trigger the reward pathways in the brain.

1. Novelty Seeking
Your mind is tired of seeing the same old ideas over and over again. That’s why things that are new or unusual will catch your eye – and this includes the content on your favorite website or social feed.

In fact, the brain is hardwired to search for novelty in this way. Seeing something new can motivate us to explore our environment for rewards, and with social media that reward is just a click away.

2. Information Gap Theory
Humans are obsessed with information and have an unquenchable interest in the world around them. That’s why, when your Facebook feed provides a chance to temporarily satisfy your curiosity with just one click, you can’t help but succumb.

Scientists haven’t figured out exactly how curiosity works yet, but what we do know so far is that it’s an itch that humans feel they must continually satisfy. More specifically, according to George Loewenstein’s information gap theory, we often act to fill a gap between what we know, and what we want to know.

Sharing is Caring

But even if something catches our attention, it still needs to spread far and wide to have a viral impact. That’s why the reasons we share content are important, and why posts typically hit on certain emotions to achieve virality.

People share content to:

  • Connect with someone over a shared interest
  • Promote a product they believe is useful to others
  • Be involved in a current trend or event
  • Be the first to tell a friend about a trend or event
  • Share something about themselves
  • Socialize with friends offline
  • Promote a good cause
  • Demonstrate their own knowledge or ability
  • Start an online conversation
  • Boost their reputation among friends

Lastly, specific positive emotions lead people to sharing content, including those of amusement, affection, surprise, happiness, and excitement. On the flipside, nostalgia and disgust are two other psychological responses that trigger sharing as well.

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The World’s 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2019

Technology brands account for 20 of the world’s 100 most valuable brands in 2019, combining for a whopping 43% of total brand value.

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The World’s 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2019

Brand equity can be a challenging thing to build.

Even with access to deep pockets and an innovative product, it can take decades of grit to scrape your way into the mainstream consciousness of consumers.

On the path to becoming established as a globally significant brand, companies must fight through fierce competition, publicity scandals, changing regulations, and rapidly-evolving consumer tastes – all to take a bite from the same piece of pie.

Cream of the Crop

Today’s visualization comes to us from HowMuch.net, and it showcases the 100 most valuable brands in the world, according to Forbes.

Here are the powerful brands that sit at the very top of the list:

RankBrandBrand Value ($B)1-Yr Value ChangeIndustry
#1Apple$205.5+12%Technology
#2Google$167.7+27%Technology
#3Microsoft$125.3+20%Technology
#4Amazon$97.0+37%Technology
#5Facebook$88.9-6%Technology
#6Coca-Cola$59.2+3%Beverages
#7Samsung$53.1+11%Technology
#8Disney$52.2+10%Leisure
#9Toyota$44.6+0%Automotive
#10McDonald's$43.8+6%Restaurants

It should be noted that the list is ordered by brand value, a measure that tries to calculate each brand’s ultimate contribution in financial terms to the parent company. You can see that full methodology here.

Finally, it’s also worth mentioning that brands with only a token representation in the United States have been excluded from the rankings. This means companies like Alibaba or Vodafone are not represented in this particular visualization.

Tech Rules Again in 2019

For another straight year, technology dominates the list of the 100 most valuable brands in 2019 – this time, with six of the top seven entries.

Most of these brands saw double-digit growth in value from the previous year, including Apple (12%), Google (27%), Amazon (37%), Microsoft (20%), and Samsung (11%). The one notable exception here is Facebook, which experienced a 6% drop in value attributed to various struggles around the company’s reputation.

Here’s a look at how industries break down more generally on the list:

Industry# of BrandsBrand Value ($B)
Total100$2,231.9
Technology20$957.6
Financial Services13$198.1
Automotive11$208.9
Consumer Goods10$123.8
Retail8$133.0
Luxury6$124.1
Beverages4$49.3
Diversified4$56.8
Alcohol3$69.8
Apparel3$34.7
Business Services3$33.5
Restaurants3$73.0
Telecom3$24.3
Heavy Equipment2$36.7
Leisure2$19.8
Media2$34.8
Transportation2$41.1
Tobacco1$12.6

As you can see, technology brands make up 20% of the list in terms of the number of entries – and a whopping 43% of the list’s cumulative valuation.

In total, technologies brands combined for $957.6 billion in value. Even when including Facebook’s recent drop, this is an impressive 9.7% increase on last year’s numbers.

Will the double-digit increases for the world’s largest tech giants continue into 2020, or are brands such as Amazon and Google going to start seeing the same type of pushback that Facebook has grappled with among consumers and regulators?

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This Giant List of 100+ Marketing Stats Reveals What Actually Works

This massive infographic uses 100+ marketing stats to highlight the tactics that are working in modern-day digital universe.

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In just the last decade, the marketing world has been dramatically transformed.

Spending on digital media surpassed television ads in 2017, and now global digital spend is anticipated to top $333 billion this year.

As a result, today’s entrepreneurs and small businesses are starting to think about marketing in almost exclusively digital terms – and to have a successful online strategy, it’s important to see the data on what tactics are actually working.

Visualizing 100+ Marketing Stats

Today’s infographic comes to us from Serpwatch and it highlights seven of the most important digital marketing trends to keep an eye on this year.

Along the way, it highlights over 100 useful marketing stats that help to reveal the strategies and tactics that maximize ROI in the online arena.

This Giant List of 100+ Marketing Stats Reveals What Actually Works

It’s well known that digital media tactics – such as using social media, SEO, search, email, and content marketing – all offer unprecedented levels of analytics, customization, and segmentation for the modern marketer.

However, with so much to think about when using these techniques online and at scale, they can also be quite overwhelming.

Luckily, the above list provides some marketing stats that stand out in potentially helping businesses make the most out of their digital campaigns.

Stats That Stand Out

Here are some of the marketing stats from the above list that we thought stood out the most, for each category:

  • Search:
    The top five search results for a keyword on Google get 70% of the clicks.
  • Social media:
    80% of B2B leads come in through LinkedIn vs. 13% on Twitter and 7% on Facebook.
  • Video marketing:
    Video will represent 82% of all internet traffic by 2021.
  • Cold email marketing:
    Emails sent between 10-11am have the highest open rates. Tuesday is the best day to send cold emails.
  • Paid advertising:
    The mobile ad blocking rate has increased 90% year-over-year.
  • Lead generation:
    61% of marketers say generating traffic and leads is their top challenge.
  • Content marketing:
    47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.

Although the digital marketing space is vast, the useful statistics above may help create some clarity for marketers trying to get the most out of their efforts in 2019 and beyond.

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