Social media itself is pretty contagious. Indeed, try glancing over at a fellow commuter on your way to work tomorrow, seeing them on Facebook or Twitter, and NOT reaching into your own pocket to have a quick glance yourself. Seriously, it’s not easy. The platform itself is also a perfect place for contagious (heavily shared) content, so to capitalise on this fact, DigitasLBi and Jonah Berger, author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller “Contagious: Why Things Catch On,” have unveiled a proprietary social-media competitive monitoring tool designed to identify brands with the most contagious social content on Facebook and Twitter based solely on consumer-to-consumer data. The “Contagious Index” is a clever tool that not only measures a brand's ability to produce contagious content, but also its ability to consistently create and distribute shared and engaging social content, compared to its competitors.
The Contagious Index: Facebook
The index delivers brands with a “Contagious Score” out of 100, which evaluates how well their social media content has resulted in consumer-to-consumer sharing compared to its peer group. The Contagious Index combines DigitasLBi's in-depth understanding of content and social-media analytics, with Jonah Berger's expertise on what drives word of mouth, into a propriety metric that redefines what it means to "perform well" in the social space. The index is powered with public, content-level data points from both Facebook and Twitter by the data provider “Shareablee.” The depth of the Contagious Index's analytical process allows marketers and brands to map and compare brands in social media across many different features, including the consistency of content, comparison to industry average, and more specific insights into a brand’s performance.
The “Contagious Index” not only measures a brand's ability to produce contagious content, but also its ability to create, distribute and share it
In his book “Contagious: Why Things Catch On,” Berger revealed the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission, and how six basic principles drive all sorts of things to become contagious, from consumer products and policy initiatives to workplace rumours and YouTube videos. He said of the index: “The Contagious Index helps companies understand how to win in social. Why do some brands get more shares than others and what types of content are more effective? Rather than hoping or guessing about what's working, companies can engineer success. Comparing content on a granular level enables marketers and brands to analyse social content with unprecedented detail.”
The Contagious Index: Twitter
Jill Sherman, SVP of social strategy at DigitasLBi, added: “Sharing content is personal and a uniquely 'social' action that is a powerful indicator of what's resonated with an individual in a meaningful way. Sharing is markedly different from other social media actions such as commenting, liking, or subscribing, not just in the way it impacts perceptions among personal networks, but in the way it impacts algorithms. We now have the ability to assess the value and velocity around consumer-to-consumer sharing and gauge how well content is performing to predict future outcomes.”
The Contagious Index measured the social content of brands from January 2015-September 2015
An example showing iTunes on the Contagious Index for Facebook
The Contagious Index measured the social content of brands from January 2015-September 2015, across 10 industry markets, and identified the number-one-ranking brands by their Contagious Score. The results can be found above, and whilst many of the results are hardly illuminating (it’ll surprise nobody, for example, that Starbucks was the most heavily contagious quick service restaurant brand on Facebook), they do show off the power of the system. Also, I found out that Pokémon is more popular on Twitter than it is on Facebook (where the post-apocalyptic Fallout games are apparently better served), and that’s information you can take to the bank! If you want to check out how a specific brand fared on the index, simply check out The Contagious Index online portal and you’ll be presented with a handy drop-down menu. As an example, I asked the index where iTunes sat compared to other entertainment retail and was surprised to learn it had its arse well and truly handed to it by Guitar Centre! Which is definitely encouraging for an old (in spirit at least) rocker like myself.
Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and musician from Kidderminster in the UK.