Active viral marketing: Incorporating continuous active seeding efforts into the diffusion model

Alon Sela, Dmitri Goldenberg, Irad Ben-Gal, Erez Shmueli*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Existing viral-marketing network models commonly assume a preliminary phase in which a marketer actively infects a subset of social network's users, represented by nodes, followed by a passive viral process, in which nodes infect other nodes without external intervention. However, in real-world commercial scenarios, substantial efforts are often invested by companies to promote their products, suggesting that the adoption of products is rarely the consequence of a viral spread alone. Under this observation, this paper proposes a new diffusion model, named Active Viral Marketing, which better fits real-world marketing scenarios, where adoption of products relies on continuous active promotion efforts by the marketer. In the proposed model, the success of a marketing attempt to infect a potential customer (uninfected node), depends on the number of adopting friends (infected neighbors) of this user, assuming a user is more likely to adopt a product if more of his/her friends have already adopted it, while taking into account that social influence diminishes over time due to a memory-loss effect. The paper further proposes a set of heuristics to schedule the marketing attempts. The main idea behind these heuristics is to utilize the information on the dynamic adoption-states of neighbor nodes, in addition to the static social network topology, when choosing the next node to seed. An extensive experimentation demonstrates how the proposed seeding heuristics improve the adoption rate of products by 30%–75% in comparison to existing state-of-the-art methods that mainly rely on the network topology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-60
Number of pages16
JournalExpert Systems with Applications
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018


FundersFunder number
Kamin Grant of the Israeli Chief Scientist58073


    • Influence maximization
    • Information diffusion
    • Scheduled seeding
    • Viral marketing


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