What is a pass-along rate?

Pass-along rate measures the percentage of people who pass on a file, message, forwarded emails, and web links, measuring word-of-mouth marketing. For print media, pass-along rates measure overall readership vs. circulation. Content generally includes entertainment and humor, shopping specials, technology, and late-breaking news. Basically, pass-along rate tells you the number of how many people that enjoyed your content will go on to tell their friends, family, and even coworkers to check out your content as well.

Why pass-along rate matters

  1. Advertisers care

    Advertising funds a lot of publishing, and advertisers care most about how many eyes are going to see their ads. The online ad industry is driven by impressions, and pass-along rates capture the data helps advertisers understand their reach.

  2. Viral wins

    Mass email messages — newsletters, etc. — will often include an easy link so recipients can forward the message to friends. Companies that create content that gets passed along to others increase ROI and sell more products.

  3. Shapes strategy

    Organizations that capture pass-along rates better understand what their audiences want and can tweak content strategies accordingly. Content that evokes an emotional reaction is much more likely to be passed along by the original viewer.

  4. Non-scalable marketing

    Cheap and effective, non-scalable marketing is a sure way to receive all of the bangs for every little buck. Having your services and/or goods praised by excited consumers adds a level of authenticity and positivity to a brand’s image.

  5. Word-of-mouth speed

    When people talk, their friends, family, followers, and passers-by all listen. Humans are curious and love to be in the know, so by sparking curiosity, people do their own research, which increases web traffic and captures future clientele.

  6. Self-feeding

    The wonder of the pass-along rate is it feeds off itself, constantly multiplying at an uncontainable rate reaching an unimaginable growth all on its own. Not that advertisers shouldn’t invest in the hands-on spread, but pass-along rate spreads ads further than initially anticipated.

Pass-along rate best practices

  1. Surveys

    One of the ways that you can calculate the spread of a rough pass-along rate is through the usage of surveys. By creating a poll, you’re able to find a close percentage as to how many people are responding and positively spreading the word without the interference of controlled ads.

  2. Obvious USP

    The best way to benefit from this form of marketing is by creating something with an obvious unique selling point that’s so exciting, different, and new that people feel like they have no choice but to tell others about it.

  3. Referral incentives

    An older, but still effective, practice when it comes to pass-along rates is offering incentives to those that refer a friend, family member, or colleague to an appointed site. Though this implementation isn’t considered completely natural, it does inspire people to spread the good word, while happily reaping the benefits.