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5 Viral Calculators That Almost Broke the Internet

They go viral more than any other kind of content. Top viral calculators are more interactive than articles, more personalized than infographics and most importantly, add a lot of value to the audience. Here, we have compiled a list of 5 calculators that did exceptionally well and tried to unpack their success! 

#1 NY Times Buy Vs. Rent Calculator

To rent or to buy? This question is important to everyone who’s looking for their dream house. This interactive calculator evaluates factors such as home price, expected stay duration, mortgage details, tax scenario, and future trends to decide between renting and buying.

rent vs buy

What makes it tick?

It answers a very fundamental question. If you look at the trends, rent vs buy has always had a high search volume. This means the question has been at top of peoples’ minds and this calculator is answering it for them.

Publishing Calculators interactive content rent vs buy search trend

Other things that make this calculator appealing are –

  • Interactive interface
  • Easy to answer questions
  • Upfront results
  • Backed by research

The Digital Viral Footprint

It was shared 187K times in last one year.

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In comparison to this, one of NY Times writeups on the same topic managed to clock up only over 4,000 social interactions.

Social Engagement Statistics for NYT Article

It got more than 51K backlinks.

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It was embedded by top sites like Inc., Lifehacker and Marketwatch.

Publishing Calculators interactive content rent vs buy shares

#2 VOX Tax Calculator

Vox Media partnered with the Tax Policy Center to create a calculator that estimates how each presidential candidate’s tax plan would affect the masses.

Publishing Calculators interactive content vox tax calculator

What makes it tick?

The 2016 US presidential elections have been the most talked about in the United States. Here’s a proof –

Google Trends had a dedicated section for it!

Google's trends

When a subject of national importance that’s generating so much interest, why do you think the calculator around it won’t work. And then there are other reasons like –
• Personalized results – Each person gets a personalized result based on their financial inputs
• Short and sweet – You can take the quiz in under a minute! Yes! We tried it.

The Digital Viral Footprint

It was shared 503K times!

Publishing Calculators interactive content vox tax calculator shares

Influencers including actors, columnists, journalists, and pop artists shared it.

Vox Calculator Sharers

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More than 200 sites are linked back to the calculator.

sites linked calculators

vox tax calculator

Its Reddit discussion got over 100 Comments.

Publishing Calculators interactive content vox tax calculator reddit

Related: Find Out if Your Calculator Will Go Viral

#3 NY Times Student Loan Calculator

The topmost thing on any student’s mind is financing his/her education. And for most of them, student loan is the ultimate solution. In the U.S., the average Class of 2016 graduate owes $37,172 in student loan debt, up six percent from last year. This has been the case always, and thus it makes sense for students to understand the borrowing picture well. Keeping this in view, NY Times has created a student loan calculator that tells students about loan options at various institutions and what will it take to repay the loans.

student loan calculator

What makes it tick?

As discussed above, student loan is a big issue in the US. And this calculator attempts to help student determine how much money do they need to sponsor their studies, which is a huge help. This is one of the key reasons the calculator was shared so much!

Other reasons include –

  • Interactive design.
  • Fewer Inputs Required.
  • Ease of Sharing with multiple share options on the top.

The Digital Viral Footprint

More than 4K Shares.

Publishing Calculators interactive content ny-times-student-loan-calc-shares

Backlinks from more than 100 domains.

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Pro Tip: Find Out if Your Interactive Content is Fit to Go Viral

#4 CNN Millionaire Calculator

Who doesn’t dream of becoming a millionaire? This calculator by CNN helps you determine just how long will it take to fulfill this dream.

Publishing Calculators interactive content cnn-millionaire-calculator

What makes it tick?

If a tool told you exactly how long will it take for you to become a millionaire, wouldn’t you just love to share it with your network? This is exactly what worked in the favor of this calculator. This, and some other things like –

  • It’s interactive – slider format makes it easy to give inputs
  • Upfront results- the calendar gives you a definite year without asking for your email!

The Digital Viral Footprint

More than 10K shares.

digital viral footprint

A lot of organic traffic.

Publishing Calculators interactive content cnn-millionaire-calculator-backlinks

#5 BBC Class Calculator

Though a controversial entity, this calculator has been quite popular and gone viral. It apparently tells you the “class” (British social division), you belong to.

Publishing Calculators interactive content bbc-class-calculator

What makes it tick?

  • The controversial subject
  • Results backed by research

The Digital Viral Footprint

More than 386K shares in the last year.

Publishing Calculators interactive content bbc-class-calculator-shares

More than 2K backlinks.

Publishing Calculators interactive content bbc-class-calculator-backlinks

In an industry like publishing where content creation is an endless process, differentiation is the key to success. And this is why these major publications chose to go down a different path – that of interactive content. And these top publishing calculators are the ultimate form of interactive content that provides great ROI. They’re are easy to create, deliver personalized results, add value, and above all, are shareable.

Inspired enough? Get started with designing your own viral calculators and quizzes.

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