Results of My Viral Plugin Test

Here’s the results of my viral plugin test:

I tested two plugins for wordpress (you can also get versions for regular HTML sites):

“ViralLock” and “Social Locker”

The plugins were designed to lock off a piece of content and then reveal it if someone shares the content. (see the graphic below)


The idea seems to work best if you give some good content first and build anticipation toward the best piece of content. This is relatively easy by making top ten lists, top five lists or what have you where the most important piece of content is the last one of the list. It’s kinda like a David Letterman top ten list.

I did a top 15 list about mistakes people make with their websites.

The first plugin I tried was called “ViralLock”. Despite many positive reviews, I can’t recommend it at all. Much of the time it wouldn’t work by either refusing to reveal the content, or not passing the shares on to Facebook,Twitter and Google+

The second plugin “Social Locker” was the one that we are going with, but at this point I don’t think you can count on the share function to work 100% of the time. There are too many different combinations of browsers operating systems and handheld devices.

We are still going to use it and recommend it though because the numbers below speak for themselves. What we gain FAR OUTWEIGHS the minor problems with people not being able to get it to work.

Our Fault

Actually some of the problems were our own fault. In the beginning we weren’t really clear enough on what exactly to do and what should happen after you do it. Tech savvy people had no trouble with understanding what was going on, but not so tech savvy people were a little challenged until we put out more clear instructions. Because of our less-than-clear instructions we had 15.38 % trouble which has been fixed.

Three other things we discovered:

1. Our “leave us a voice mail” app was covering up the instructions on smart phones simply because of the small screen. We are changing widgets for the voice mail app so that doesn’t happen anymore.

2. People were clicking on our other social media icons rather than the ones needed to unlock the content so we improved the instructions on that.

3. Many people did not know to come back to the blog to read the unhidden content. They tried to read it on Facebook and couldn’t. We improved the instructions on that.

Let’s take a look at the rough numbers (Note: this is a far cry from a scientific test):

I sent notice of this test out to only a portion of my email list and I asked for people to give me feedback:

Also, if you didn’t try the test visit

I didn’t even track the numbers for ViralLock because it was an immediate fail.

For “Social Locker” here’s what I got:

225 People shared the content

75.34 % had no trouble

15.38 % had trouble because they didn’t know what to do (our fault)

9.28 % had actual trouble because of browser/handheld devices, etc.

So, the bottom line is that this piece of content would have only been seen by subscribers I already have. By using this technique the content was shared 225 times so far and has the potential to be seen by tens of thousands of people that previously never heard of me.

And it’s working perfectly now nearly 91% of the time and most likely more than that since we took off the voice mail app and improved the instructions.

It’s cheap too. . . only $24.00 and it’s got plenty of customizable features like size and color of the box and what goes in the box, blurring of the content under the box, timed delayed boxes and much more.

If you ask me that’s a pretty good deal to reach tens of thousand of people that never heard of you.

I’m recommending this plugin and yes I get a tiny affiliate commission.

Click here and search for “Social Locker” then please come back and leave a comment.



13 thoughts on “Results of My Viral Plugin Test

  1. Thank you for sharing. Too bad so many can’t or don’t follow instructions. Perhaps it is related to reading levels vs comprehension. Another research project me thinks;*)

  2. Tom, Did you check to see how many actually clicked through to a social network and how many didn’t bother to share/find reason #1?

    • Hi John. We’re still working on those stats. It’s a new blog and we don’t have any established stats yet. Also, it was a select list of people that new me, so results would probably be better than cold traffic.

  3. I’m developing a new website & learning WordPress to be able to do it. Thanks for testing it out for us and letting us know how it works. I foresee putting this up on my site in the near future.

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