I recently attended Startonomics, a one-day conference for startups and their stakeholders. The Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco was buzzing with founders, funders, developers, and marketers. Everyone was focused on the metrics and methods that can help startups win on the web. It was refreshing to be with folks who still believe the future is bright in Silicon Valley.
Among the many excellent talks I heard, the workshop by Lance Tokuda, CEO of RockYou, just rocked! Lance offered honest and actionable advice for social web startups trying to get to their first million users. The gist of his message: Go viral with your app. The market for social apps is exploding. Today, an estimated 300 million people are accessible through social platforms like MySpace, Facebook, Hi5, and others. Lance expects that number to triple to 900 million people in 2009, with the opening up of Yahoo! to social application developers.
The key to making the most of this juicy traffic is to go viral with your app. So, what does it mean to go viral? According to Lance, referral traffic is key to viral growth. This is the traffic that comes from people referring apps to their connections. The traffic comes through your install and engagement flows the steps people take to 1) install your application and 2) return to your application. RockYou has gotten the viral loop down to a science and a formula: x * y > 1 = viral
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