What multi-platform means for viral loops

A friend came by our office (which is in one of the coolest startup office buildings in San Francisco by the way) last Thursday for a beer. He showed me a cool app he’d just discovered called Highlight which, this week, seems to be the breakout app at SXSW.

Highlight looks awesome

The app lets you discover who in your network is present at your current location.

Awesome.

Except not for me. I’d really like to try it – but can’t because I have an Android and it’s iPhone-only at the moment (being a cross-platform company, the team here at Trigger.io is pretty split between Android and iOS for our personal phones, with a single Windows Phone 7 lurking also).

What if they had a real web app also?

It’s not just about Android and iOS though – take a look at their landing page on the web. Now imagine if they had even a semi-functional version of the app available there as a web app using HTML5 geolocation.

If a user receives an invite to the app while on their laptop, they’re MUCH more likely to convert if they could get a taste of the value on the web first.

Now the guys at Highlight seem to be doing fantastically on iPhone only for now and I’m also sure an Android and maybe a web-app version will come along soon. How much faster do you think they’ll grow through word-of-mouth and in-app invites when that happens? Could it even be a Twitter-style success, which some commentators are saying is a thing of the past at least at SXSW?

Bake virality in from the start = bake cross-platform in

That’s Highlight, but what about your app? The damage caused to your viral loop by not being cross-platform could be the difference between going viral (e.g. a 1.1 k-factor):

And almost viral  (e.g. a 0.9 k-factor):

(thanks to Jon Radoff for the spreadsheet model for viral growth).

If you’re intent on baking in viral from the start, you need to bake in a cross-platform strategy from the start.

If this has inspired you to go cross-platform with Trigger.io, we now support ‘web’ as one of our target platforms with our newly released Build to Web feature. Enjoy, and email us at support@trigger.io anytime with questions.