At ShareProgress, we’re in the business of optimizing share pages. We know how to read and analyze social sharing analytics, and we know when results are impressive. A recent case study run by ShareProgress and CREDO turned up just that: a petition sent to less than four thousand people which resulted in seventeen generations of shares.
Generations of Sharing
What does ‘generations of sharing’ mean? A metric used by ShareProgress, this is a measurement of how many social connections were used to recruit people to visit your website. People who come to your share pages from sources other than social sharing are Generation 1; usually, these are supporters on an organization’s mailing list or received a piece of content directly from an organization. Any visitors who are recruited by Generation 1 through social sharing to come to your site and take action are Generation 2. Any visitors recruited by Generation 2 are Generation 3, and so on. In other words, the number of generations is equal to the number of times a petition page is shared, from the first recipients to the last round of shares.
Monitoring generations of sharing is an indicator of the effectiveness of a petition page as well as a measurement of the social growth of the petition page. The greater the number of generation of shares, the greater the social growth of the petition. Increased social growth is positively correlated with the success of a petition page and the corresponding A/B test.
ShareProgress Helps Local Solar Rooftop Petition Reach 17 Generations of Shares
CREDO launched a petition to generate support in blocking a tax on rooftop solar in Utah. The petition was sent to just under 4,000 supporters. Of these approximately 4,000 recipients, almost two thousand visitors signed the petition and about 500 shared it via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. These shares constitute Generation 1 of the study.
The shares of Generation 1 generated about 600 visitors to the petition page, who in turn generated almost 250 shares, constituting Generation 2. Those shares generated another 400 visitors, approximately, who would be responsible for the almost 200 of Generation 3, and so forth.
Throughout the seventeen generations of sharing, each generation generated a high percentage within the virality ratio, but only two generations — the 10th and 11th — produced actual viral growth. The term “viral growth” is commonly misused to describe significant online growth, but in fact refers only to growth which exceeds 100% of the initial recipient pool. With viral growth, more people are coming in through referrals than through the initial pool.
Now, why is CREDO’s seventeen generations of sharing significant? Because, quite frankly, it doesn’t happen very frequently. Most A/B tests will result in fewer than ten generations of sharing. That said, this specific test isn’t completely an outlier. These results are more common with smaller petitions focused on local issues, like this CREDO petition, or the Stop Brownback campaign in Kansas, where the campaign is local and there is a strong theory of change.
Organizers of such campaigns shouldn’t miss these big opportunities. When you see results like this with many generations of sharing within a short period of time, prepare for a petition with a lot of growth and decide how to promote the campaign.