A Population Dynamics Approach to Viral Marketing

Pedro C. Souto, Luísa V. Silva, Diego Costa Pinto, Francisco C. Santos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

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The symbiosis of Social Media and viral campaigns has recently become ubiquitous. In many recent phenomena (e.g., the Cambridge Analytica scandal), rumours in viral marketing programs are present without being even noticed by consumers. Yet, the study of population dynamics and its complex patterns of interaction remains largely elusive. Here, we propose an agent-based Marketing referral model to study the impact on firms’ dissemination and profitability of biased behavior in a population of opportunistic individuals. We show that those agents only interested in collecting rewards without any brand recognition are responsible for most of Marketing campaign success and dissemination, for a large range of different cost structures, network characteristics, and number of invites. This effect is further amplified whenever the difference between the cost of using the service and the reward collected after bringing a new customer is higher.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComplex Networks and Their Applications VIII
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 8th International Conference on Complex Networks and Their Applications, COMPLEX NETWORKS 2019
EditorsHocine Cherifi, Sabrina Gaito, José Fernendo Mendes, Esteban Moro, Luis Mateus Rocha
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9783030366865
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
Event8th International Conference on Complex Networks and their Applications, COMPLEX NETWORKS 2019 - Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 10 Dec 201912 Dec 2019

Publication series

NameStudies in Computational Intelligence
Volume881 SCI
ISSN (Print)1860-949X
ISSN (Electronic)1860-9503


Conference8th International Conference on Complex Networks and their Applications, COMPLEX NETWORKS 2019


  • Referral programs
  • Rumour and viral marketing
  • Social networks


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