Viral marketing

Take a look at the AARRR model from Dave McClure and tell me what you think is the hardest step?

The AARRR Model from Dave McClure (Master of 500 Hats)
The AARRR Model from Dave McClure (Master of 500 Hats)

I asked this same question to a class of MBA students here at the Shidler College of Business and the answer of choice was the last step:  Revenue.

Yes, conversion is very, very hard to do.  However, I think that what my MBA colleagues missed is that you cannot get to the Revenue step without Retention and Referral.  Even though viral marketing only appears under the Referral step, I have found from my personal experience that viral marketing involves both Referral and Retention.

The current state-of-the-art of Acquisition is so advanced that acquiring users (more than 30 seconds on your site and at leat 2-3 pageviews) is relatively easy.


There are plenty of techniques (refer to the orange square above) that are pretty effective of practicing interruption marketing (as Seth Godin calls it and he provides quite a sad example of it).  A highly effective of acquiring customers is through Facebook Advertising, if you want to find out more about it read this post on how to target your audience using Facebook Advertising.

Currently web marketers are masters of the Acquisition step and MBA students (future web marketers) are focusing on finding out how to excel at the Revenue step.  The best example of this sad business model is the thought that Twitter is a Cash Cow in the Making (derive a funny @name, horde tons of followers, and reap the CPC rewards).  In a nutshell, the thought is that Retention and Referral are going to happen automatically somehow in any startup model.  During the dot-com era, and some still today, Internet startups fail to understand that the most common source of failure for startups is a lack of customers and not a lack of product development.  Often startups are good at managing its product development, but terrible at managing its customer development.

The gold (a.k.a traction or conversion) is to develop effective, scalable, contagious, ADDICTIVE Retention and Referral steps.

Viral marketing is essential for the success of any business enterprise.  Word-of-mouth beats any marketing concoction any given day.

Really good examples of viral marketing are:

1. Photojojo’s Scavenger Hunt: This little forum post has created 504 responses from Photojojo’s readers.  It is a very, very simple idea, yet very, very, very A-D-D-I-C-T-I-V-E.


2. Sprout widgets: I am big fan of Sprout because it allows you to tell a story and then that story can be shared with others.  Here is my stab at creating a Sprout widget for iLovePhotos.  This little widget can be found in various places of Facebook and I have found that people see it as a little pin of support for a little startup from Hawaii.  You can found our widget at Bacon Lettuce Photo – The iLovePhotos Blog.

3. Blogs that instead of being e-mail are ME-mail: the perfect example is Flickr.  This should not be a surprise but it is still a very hard idea to push.  Instead of telling people how great your company and product are, you should be telling your users how awesome they are.  Build a tribe (another Seth Godin term) that is about making feel your users good.


Retention and Referral are hard to achieve and there is no magical sure-shot way to do it.  I hope that this post gets you thinking about their importance.

2009: An interesting year for idaconcpts

Hello idaconcpts readers,

Happy New Year! I apologize for the delay since my last post at but work has been quite busy (which is always a good thing!).  I still cannot believe that it has been almost 6 months since I started this web analytics blog.  The response has been quite positive, as the following chart shows:

Number of monthly readers at
Number of monthly readers at

Back in August 2008, this web analytics blog only had a bit over 200 readers but those numbers grew much larger because of the ongoing discussion about the key players of the photo sharing industry (Flickr, Photobucket, Snapfish, Shutterfly, and Slide).  The use of great SEO and SEM tools such as StumbleUpon and Twitter, (my username is @idaconcpts and the username of the account of my company is @ilovephotos) combined with useful examples of web analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Google Trends, and Google Ad Planner, have brought a lot of people to idaconcpts to put ideas and concepts to work in web analytics.

An important update for this blog in 2009 is that it will migrate to another hosting company because I am getting quite irritated that I cannot implement a lot of useful Java script widgets while hosted at WordPress (e.g. here for a discussion about installing Google Analytics while hosted at  Also, I really want to install my Twitter badge here and, under the current hosting status, I can’t.

Regarding the number of Mac users worldwide, the question is still up in the air, but I had interest from Gartner, Inc. (@gartner_inc). I am still pushing the 80 million number for Mac users worlwide, what do you think?  The Macworld 2009 keynote brought very little light into this issue and I am still looking for validation of this statistic.

On a personal note, what the Macworld 2009 keynote brought was a lot of heated competition for us at iLovePhotos.  The new release of iPhoto09 caught us by surprise, particularly the “Faces” update.  Some people say that a pictures speaks louder than a 1,000 words, so let’s give it a try.

iPhoto9 “Faces”:




I know that the second shot is a bit overwhelming, but I am heavy user of iLovePhotos and I have a lot of tags already.

We live in a competitive market and the reality is that if it hadn’t be Apple, it would have been somebody else (e.g. et tu Picasa?).  The important point is, in the own words of Seth Godin (page 108 of Tribes):

The only thing that makes people and organizations great is their willingness to be not great along the way.  The desire to fail on the way to reaching a bigger goal is the untold secret to success.

2009 will surely be an interesting year and I am really looking forward to it because adversity always brings the best out of people.

Here at idaconcpts, I promise to be bring you the most interesting, up-to-date articles about web analytics and web marketing.  I look forward for your comments this 2009.



Exploring Flickr Communities

For the last week, I have been quite busy exploring Flickr communities, in order to develop a better understanding of what drives people to organize and share their digital photos online.

Here’s my Flickr photostream:

Through the search of full text (and tags) such as face detection (face detection), face recognition (face recognition), and photo lover (photo lover); I am finding the most interesting people you can imagine.

Why face detection and face recognition? Because I believe that we can use face detection and face recognition to make organizing, sharing, and enjoying your photos better!

Why photo lover? Because that’s the term we use to describe the users of iLovePhotos.

I will keep on exploring Flickr communities the rest of this week and will write about my experiences later on next week.

Fun times at
Fun times at

Language and Regional Analysis Google’s Picasa using Google Trends

First of all, it is important to point that it is not possible to see the Daily Unique Visitors graph of using Google Trends. Also a big mahalo (thank you in Hawaiian!) to fellow Photo Lover, Katharine Osborne, for showing me Skitch. This great little image capturing & editing tool for Mac has made my blogging much easier.

Why Picasa?  Well, in my personal opinion, the 2 main players for desktop applications in photo organizing & sharing for Mac OS are:

Teaser: what are the differences between the 2 of them? : ) Coming soon!

Since it was not possible to look for the Daily Unique Visitors graph, I looked for the Search Volume Index of the term “picasa”.  Here’s what you get:

The letters correspond to relevant news, here’s the list:

The biggest spike, highlighted with the letter A, happened after the release of Picasa 2.0 by Google, back in 2005 which included a series of improvements such as picture captioning and blog-posting ability (for the whole list check here).  A spike in the search volume of the term “picasa” is expected around the date of a new release.  This is supported by event F, because on September 3, 2008, Picasa 3.0 was released.

What was really interesting is that the United States does not appear among the top 10 regions where the term “picasa” is searched for!!

Is this possible? Is it an error? Let’s analyze the following:

Notice that there appears no U.S. city on the top 10 cities that search for “picasa” and that English does not appear on the top 10 languages!

This finding is very interesting so I adjusted the upper right setting for region from:


and I found that English is the 3rd language of the region when searching for “picasa”!


  1. The term “picasa” is searched more around the release date of a new version of Picasa.
  2. Google’s Picasa has a stronger presence abroad than in the United States.
  3. Google MUST consider that the majority of its users come from outside of the U.S., so web sites version in different languages might be needed to support its users.  This situation is not strange, the same thing happened to

Why are these conclusions relevant?

Consider the following for Apple’s iPhoto, when looking for the term “iphoto”, this is what I found:

Notice that:

  • United States is the second region where most searches happen.
  • 8 of the top 10 cities, where the searches happened, are inside of the U.S.
  • English is the top language of the queries.

This illustrates the difference in strategies between Apple’s iPhoto and Google’s Picasa.

What do you think?

Goals, not reports!

What a great last two weeks!

  1. iLovePhotos has launched!
  2. Visits to both of our websites has increased: and
  3. Last week visits to my blog,, were 7 times the weekly average! A big thank you to StumbleUpon and to the person who referred to me on this great service.  To this date, StumpleUpon has provided a total of 354 visits (and counting!), that is about 46% of total visits! Mahalo!
  4. Classes started again at the Shidler College of Business, where I am attending my second year at the MBA program.  Currently I am attending Marketing 656: Creativity in Marketing and Marketing 690: US Marketing in the Information Age.  I highly recommend the latter course and you can check out our curriculum at the provided link.
  5. On a personal note, I am back at surfing! : )
Jen Toba.
Life is good here in Hawaii! Photo Credit: Jen Toba.
Let’s talk about the title of this post: goals, not reports!  I have been reviewing Avinash Kaushik’s Web Analytics: An Hour a Day and the clear message from the first 192 pages (out of the 420 of relevant content!) is that any monkey can read web metrics and that the real job of the web analyzer is to provide the neccesary feedback to achieve the prescribed goals and desired outcomes of the website.
This might not sound like an epiphany of any kind, but it is a critical starting point for the web analyzer. Chasing metrics for the sake of chasing metrics is not the way to meet and exceed conversion goals, it involves much more.  Web analyzers are obsessed with statistics but the trick is to provide management actionable items.  My reporting strategy, for now, is to provide a statistic and an actionable item.
For example:
  • Statistic:  out of XXX visits to, XXX% come from USA, XXX% come from Germany, XXX% come from France.
  • Actionable item:  from the XXX visits from Germany, XXX% came from this discussion thread:, I will make a couple of posts in German to answer their questions.
The approach is to provide my team at Blue Lava Technologies ACTIONABLE ITEMS.  Please note, that these two examples are just day-to-day action items, rather than long-term strategies.  Sorry, but I cannot give away the special sauce recipe! : ) However, I am more than happy to share strategies via e-mail at
In other news, this is the summary of the top posts at
WordPress Blog Stats
All-time top posts at Source: WordPress Blog Stats
Definitely, the hottest topic around is the analysis of using Google Trends.
A follow-up post is in order!  Stay tuned!