frank's blog

The Interest Graph – Eight ways to get ready by Edward Boches

Posted in blog, ideas, Media, web by aldorf on July 22, 2012

Social networks like Facebook start with your friends and let you see what you have in common.  Interest graph-based models – Springpad, Pinterest, Get Glue – start with your interests and then let you make connections. It’s less about who you know and more about what you care about.

Platforms attempting to capture and map the interest graph are the next big trend in social media

If you happen to have your Google alerts set up to grab the latest blog posts and articles about Pinterest, you’re stream is pretty well populated these days. Add “Facebook Actions” or “Springpad” or “Svpply” or “Hunch” and it gets even more crowded.  Maybe that’s why I don’t dare add queries for Google’s new privacy changes or developments like YouTube’s original channels. It would be more than anyone could possibly bear.

With each passing week, the social web evolves. Now that we’ve supposedly mastered Facebook and Twitter, we’re confronted with Google + and all the new interest graph platforms mentioned above. Are we ready? Do we know what to do? Do we have a strategy in place?

Recent research that Mullen just conducted suggests not. We surveyed 160 CMOs and marketing chiefs to find out where they stood when it came to using social media, monitoring the stream, developing conversation strategy and having a plan for tapping the interest graph.

We were surprised at some of the results.

Marketers remain challenged by social media

While 87 percent of respondents claimed that social media was somewhat or very important to their marketing efforts, most of their efforts remained limited to, or at least focused on Facebook. Nearly 80 percent were committed to the world’s largest social network. But fewer than 20 percent were using Google + and a full 80 percent had no focus at all on a platform like Foursquare.

While ongoing engagement emerged as one primary objective (64.5 percent noted it) marketers declared their number one reason for using social media was to generate awareness (76.8 percent), an objective that beat out both customer support (29.7 percent) and building loyalty (53.5 percent).

Among the more disappointing, but perhaps expected findings was the fact that marketers measure success primarily by how many followers and/or likes they generate (71.6 percent). By comparison, downloads (24.5 percent), share of conversation (25.2) and referrals (35.5) remained far less important. The latter is particularly surprising given the social web’s built in ability to inspire word-of-mouth marketing and the sharing of recommendations.

When it comes to content, marketers continue to think like traditional advertisers. They primarily use social platforms to promote products and offers (67.5 percent) and to deliver updates (64.9 percent). Providing utility (33.1) and offering entertainment (22.7) remain far less important concerns.

Despite the flurry of press coverage on the emerging importance of the interest graph, nearly half or respondents (48.7 percent) never heard of the term “interest graph,” and when they had it explained – the ability to connect with consumers in a more meaningful way by tapping into their interests – only 26.6 percent thought it could be “very useful.”

As for all that buzz around Pinterest, a platform generating page views, user growth and inbound links for the early adopter brands? Close to half of our respondents (42.2 percent) never even heard of it, while barely a sliver (4.5 percent) had started using it.

Perhaps that’s no surprise given that 68.8 percent of marketers surveyed capture no interest graph data at all — not preferences, interests, or intentions.

Finally, while brand stewards aren’t quite overwhelmed with the proliferation of platforms, they (44.2 percent) struggle with one fundamental challenge – where to put their resources.

According to a recent Mullen study, most marketers don’t capture interest data

From the social graph to the interest graph

The last finding surprises no one. Getting social media efforts to deliver hard results and ROI is a challenge for the simple reason that most consumers aren’t there to connect with brands and their advertising messages.

But the interest graph platforms can change that. If marketers can suddenly identify people who’ve raised their hands and virtually asked for a “proposal,” they can more easily connect with people who’ll welcome them.

Every social network knows this is the future. Facebook Actions now allows users to tap into and identify friends’ interests — music, tastes in foods and preferences for movies, books and more. Presumably, if you actually know what friends have good taste in music it will now be easier to call on their recommendations. Actions aren’t perfect, however.

You still have to scroll through the stream and most content isn’t really persistent, meaning if you miss it in the stream it’s gone. It still poses challenges for marketers, too.  Check out your own page and refresh it a few times. I guarantee that you’ll find the majority of ads that get served to you are completely irrelevant.  But the promise is significant. Facebook will inevitably get better at capturing even more data and presumably allow advertisers to more accurately focus messages.

Foursquare, which our research told us is barely on the radar for most marketers will start making recommendations to its users on where to eat and where to vacation based on past behavior and that of friends. Certainly any hospitality marketer – restaurants, chains, museums and hotels – should at least be exploring the possibilities, if not encouraging user participation.

But all of this is still new. The social graph as we know it is only a few years old while the interest graph has been a topic of discussion for a matter of months. So what does it all mean? For brands, it’s definitely not too late to be early. Marketers can still get in on the ground level. But they need to embrace it and work to leverage it.

For social media practitioners, there’s work to be done. We need to learn, educate each other, experiment and develop effective strategies and tactics.

Eight steps you can take to get ready

  1. Learn the difference between the social graph and the interest graph.  This simple description, by David Rogers writing in Read Write Web might help.*
  2. Read Grouped and get a better sense of how influence happens on the social web. The Tipping Point is a fallacy. Influence isn’t what you think it is. Small groups are what really matter.
  3. Open accounts on at least a few of the platforms. We would recommend Pinterest, Springpad**, and one other of your choice (The Fancy, Fab, Hunch) just to learn what it’s all about. Don’t commit to any one platform. Pinterest may be hot right now, but it’s too early to own this category and some consider the platform of the month a bit one dimensional.
  4. Take the time to learn what constitutes appropriate and effective conversation strategy on these new platforms. (Hint: it’s not simply about publishing content or adding a Spring This or Pin It button to your site.)
  5. Pay attention to Google’s new privacy policy and as mentioned earlier Facebook Actions.
  6. Look for opportunities to market to the data. We’re a few months or more away from this, but it’s coming.
  7. Use the platforms yourself. There is no better way to learn and understand their potential.
  8. If you’re at SxSW this year, come to our panel on the interest graph and deferred intent.

*The Social Graph

A social graph is a digital map that says, “This is who I know.” It may reflect people who the user knows in various ways: as family members, work colleagues, peers met at a conference, high school classmates, fellow cycling club members, friend of a friend, etc. Social graphs are mostly created on social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, where users send reciprocal invites to those they know, in order to map out and maintain their social ties.

*The Interest Graph

An interest graph is a digital map that says, “This is what I like.” As Twitter’s CEO has remarked, if you see that I follow the San Francisco Giants on Twitter, that doesn’t tell you if I know the team’s players, but it does tell you a lot about my interest in baseball. Interest graphs are generated by the feeds customers follow (e.g. on Twitter), products they buy (e.g. on Amazon), ratings they create (e.g. on Netflix), searches they run (e.g. on Google), or questions they answer about their tastes (e.g. on services like Hunch).

Your thoughts? Please share ideas, examples or insights as to where you think things are going.


 

Please read another related article here “Social media gets interesting” 

What everyone in Silicon Valley and “Venture Land” conceive of as the real game-changing model involves capturing and capitalizing on the “interest graph. The company that succeeds in doing so would be “close to the Google search paradigm because it would be right in line with demand generation and with discovery that relates to product purposes.” Thus, it is the interest graph that defines the middle ground between Google and Facebook — between search, advertising, and the social graph.

(original posts by Edward Boches)

Make a Bike. Make a Difference.

Posted in design, ideas, web by aldorf on March 14, 2012

The Bicycle Academy

A place to learn how to make bikes. You keep the skills, your first bike goes to someone who really needs it.

The Bicycle Academy is a new enterprise providing people with the skills and facilities to design and make their own bikes.

Frame building will be taught by the legendary Brian Curtis as evening classes or short weekday courses. As part of the learning process each student will make a frame designed specifically for use in Africa. Once graduated students will be able to use The Bicycle Academy workshop to hone their skills and build their own frames. (Sponsored via peoplefund.it)

Mobile Web Growing 8x Faster Than Web

Posted in Media, web by aldorf on March 6, 2012

The mobile web is growing 8 times faster than the web grew in adoption. Companies like Amazon, eBay, PayPal, and Google were all products of the initial web explosion.  They disrupted countless established business – some of which never recovered. Today, 3 times more smartphones are activated every minute than there are babies born. Read more…

Check out my “Future of Mobile Internet” presentation.

Coffee & Power – It’s A Crowdsourcing Workclub Hybrid

Posted in innovation, Media, web by aldorf on January 7, 2012

Coffee & Power is the current project of Philip Rosedale, the founder and former CEO of Linden Lab, the company behind Second Life. It’s a crowdsourcing startup that Rosedale founded in 2010 with former Linden Lab colleague Ryan Downe and former Accenture consultant Fred Heiberger. And it’s all about making it easier for people to do small chunks of creative work for one another, and get paid for it. The idea has to components, there is a website where people can post small jobs they need done or are willing to do. And  two physical Coffee & Power “workclubs,” in San Francisco and Santa Monica, where members can meet to collaborate or deliver services. These are the “key enabling features” that they copied from Secon Life and that help sellers and buyers find one another, decide who’s trustworthy, and pay for work completed. The first element is rich communications, in the form of profiles, reviews, status updates, and a live public chat space (no 3-D avatars this time). The second is radical transparency, meaning the details of every transaction are available for everyone to see. The third is a virtual currency, called C$ in an echo of Second Life’s Linden Dollars or L$.

Investors have been paying a lot of attention lately to bigger crowdsourcing players like oDesk and Elance, as well as upstarts such as TaskRabbitMobileWorks, and Zaarly. (via xconomy)

neverlikeditanyway.com :::: we’ve all got stories to tell and things to sell

Posted in ideas, web by aldorf on January 3, 2012

Neverlikeditanyway is a new website “where once loved gifts from once loved partners get a second chance… We’ve all been there. We’ve all got stories to tell and things to sell. This is a place full of marvelous deals. And tales of the mild, mutual and monstrous.”

http://www.neverlikeditanyway.com/

Occupy The Internet!

Posted in blog, Media, web by aldorf on December 1, 2011

Are you a “webmaster”, admin, blog owner or someone with access to index.html files? Are you interested in taking part in the recent global wave of revolution from the comfort of your home computer? Occupy the Internet! (via graffitiresearchlab)

 

Every Big Idea Starts With A Simple Sketch

Posted in design, ideas, Media, web by aldorf on November 26, 2011

Twitter first draft by Jack Dorsey.

Sink or Swim School of Engineering Talk by Instagram Founders

Posted in conference, inspiration, Media, web by aldorf on October 15, 2011

Co-Founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger were able to launch Instagram without being computer science graduates. Krieger is proud of this fact, as it shows students from other disciplines can start companies in the technology space. He recalls his most valuable Stanford courses as the ones that taught him to define questions and then allowed him the freedom to seek the answers. In this clip, fellow Co-Founder Kevin Systrom also talks about the importance of connecting with other members of the entrepreneurial community. (via ecorner)

Subjot Is Not Just Another Twitter Clone

Posted in Media, web by aldorf on August 19, 2011

Do we really need more social networks? Looking at New York based Chris and Becky Carella’s latest venture, Subjot, the answer could well be ‘yes’. Subjot, on the other hand, makes a decent effort in terms of setting itself apart.

It’s not just another Twitter clone. There’s no denying that there’s a ton of similarities but there is one feature in particular which is pretty interesting – and that is the ability to curate the content you follow from other users. So instead of following all of their status updates, you can view a list of the topics they ‘jot’ about, and select only the ones that are of interest to you.

How does it work?

When sending an update, which is limited to 250 characters, you can accompany that update with a ‘subject’ of your choice. People who follow you can then select from your subjects what exactly they want to hear about. Read full article

Codeacademy – Fun Way To Learn How To Program

Posted in design, ideas, internet, web by aldorf on August 19, 2011

Codecademy is the easiest way to learn how to code. It’s interactive, fun, playful and you can do it with your friends.

Ryan and Zach were students at Columbia before they started to work on Codecademy. They’ve worked at NYC startups, given numerous lectures on topics in programming, and are now living in Silicon Valley. Codecademy was created when Zach got frustrated with learning how to program. For years, Ryan taught Zach the basics of HTML and CSS, but books and videos didn’t help. Create your own account and get started.

%d bloggers like this: