Growth. How to achieve it? That's the billion dollar question. What you probably don’t know is that there actually is a formula for growth, a Scientific formula to magically achieve growth. Sounds crazy, but there is.

Let’s break down the growth process.

Paid and organic growth.

It is well known, that to achieve sustainable growth most of your users must be obtained organically. For some investors like Andrew Chan, Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, the magic number is 70% organic. Why? Well because as time goes by it becomes more and more expensive to bring in paid users. The business becomes unsustainable because the top line hits the ceiling. Dive deeper on the subject here

So, how can you achieve organic growth? The clue is virality. You can show up in as many news outlets as money can buy, but if you lack organic word of mouth, your product won’t grow in a sustainable way. The question is, what's the formula for virality? It seems that Jonah Berger, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, found part of the answer. In his research professor Berger discovered that there are 6 key elements a product needs to have to reach virality. And, I added 2 more:

1. Social currency. Consumers are more likely to adopt a product if it makes them feel special or ahead of the curve. For example, Gilt's exclusive sales helped it become one of the hottest online shopping sites.

2. Triggers. Products that catch on, become part of our everyday lives, so successful products create reasons and reminders to return on a regular basis. For example, Facebook and Twitter drive you back to their sites every time they email you to say you have a new message or mention.

3. Emotional impact. People tend to evangelize a product if it affected them emotionally, whether it solved a stressful problem or brightened a bad day. For example, if a Buzzfeed article makes you laugh, you’ll likely share it with friends who need a lift.

4. Visibility. Giving a product a distinctive feature, such as a standout logo or color, helps consumers notice when others are using it. For example, you immediately recognize iPods because Apple made the headphones white when other companies all used black.

5. Practical value. A truly useful product that helps the user become more effective is more likely to be recommended often. For example, Evernote is very good at helping users remember and organize information, so it's often recommended for research.

6. Stories. If people are going to share your product, they need to be able to tell its story. That can be as simple as a clear statement about what the product does, or as complicated as a really interesting origin story. For example, people who buy TOMS shoes love telling others how one pair is donated for every pair you buy.

(Note: The first six elements were extracted from an publication you can find here

7. Flawless. When people try your product they expect it to work and not only that, in today's world there's not time. If we talk about performance specifically, a Google publication that can be found here states that if a page takes between 3 to 5 seconds to load the probability of bounce's increases in 58%.

8. Shareability: The more you can make your product sharable with other people the stickier it will be. For example, in the case of Dropbox if you want to share a file, another person will have to login to Dropbox, this will cause for that person to experience the product and hopefully sign up too.

With that in mind, at Datagran we built what is called the Virality index. A simple graph where we compare several companies in terms of their virality index. The more elements they have, the higher their virality.

The Virality Index diagram

Achieving sustainable growth is a scientific method. Where if you include in your product this x elements you will be able to generate virality, which in turn will allow your product to grow organically.