How do you create an internet company\product that can get the attention of more than 100 million unique viewers a month?
That’s the tough question that Yossi Vardi’s was trying to find an answer to on his panel at this year’s DLD conference – 100,000 Million Uniques (video) – together with Glam’s co-founder Samir Arora, YouTube’s co-founder and CEO Chad Hurley, CEO of the Mozilla Foundation Mitchell Baker and Toby Coppel who is a VP at Yahoo!.
The answer, according to Yossi and the panel speakers, who all run companies with over 100 million users, is that having a good product is not enough; there has to be an emotional connection between the product and its users.
After discussing the process of starting, marketing and improving their products the panel’s conclusion was that users engagement is the result of an emotional involvement between the users and the product and others users and a feeling of participating in creation of something new.
A good example for that is Yahoo’s Q&A service that, according to Coppel, has more than 140 million users a month. Although most users are passive and only read the questions and answers, 5%-7% of the users write answers, and they do so without getting paid – they share their knowledge with the world.
According to Coppel, the emotional connection to a product is achieved by providing a platform to self organize allowing people to create and share knowledge and experiences and find other like minded people.
Baker explained that Firefox’s success is based on the sense of mission – to build a piece of the internet that is a public assert – which turns out to be an emotional goal for a lot of people.
And what about YouTube? Chad Hurley explains its success on the focus on creating a simple-as-possible user experience and allowing people to distribute content by embedding videos – “We try to associate our easy to use service with our brand – YouTube – and to allow people to take that experience, take that video code to embed and place on their own websites and blogs so that people can experience it there as well and drive traffic back to our service. Beyond creating a service that adds value people need to connect emotionally to the brand that you’re creating”.
To demonstrate the importance of emotion, Yossi Vardi showed two YouTube videos of the aria Nessum Dorma. The first video, sang by Pavarotti only received about 9 million views while the second video, sang by Paul Potts, a hobbyist opera singer, received well over 40 million views.
Vardi later asked Hurley why the second video was so popular. “Well he’s good” was Hurley’s answer.