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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)

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The Importance of Brand in an Era of Digital Darwinism

Posted in ideas, innovation, internet by aldorf on March 7, 2012

Excerpts of an unpublished appendix for The End of Business as Usual… by Brian Solis

Markets, consumer behavior and how businesses connect with customers are all directly impacted by technology.

The increasingly important role of technology, combined with global economic unrest, means a company’s brand is more important today than it has ever been. Consumers, in search of certainty, rely heavily on a brand’s symbolism and significance

Digital Darwinism is the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than some companies’ ability to adapt.

Babson College cited a rather humbling statistic; “Over 40% of the companies that were at the top of the Fortune 500 in 2000 were no longer there in 2010.”

24/7 Wall St. published its annual list of “Ten Brands That Will Disappear in 2012.” The publication predicts the demise of some of the world’s most recognizable brands, including Sony Pictures, American Apparel and Nokia.

“For me, marketing is about values. This is a very noisy world and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. So, we have to be very clear what we want them to know about us.” (Steve Jobs)

The company then looked inward in an attempt to answer the questions: Who is Apple; What does it stand for and where does the brand fit in the world.

“What we’re about isn’t making boxes for people to get their jobs done,” said Jobs during the company meeting,” Apple’s core value is that we believe people with passion can change the world…for the better. Those people, crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones that actually do.…Here’s to the crazy ones.”

McDonald’s is adapting to a new era, creating an experience marked by muted colors, wooden tables and faux leather chairs. And, that’s just the beginning. McDonald’s is pouring $1 billion into redesigning the consumer experience.

Everything begins with embracing a culture of innovation and adaptation — a culture that recognizes the impact of disruptive technology and how consumer preference and affinity is evolving.

If a organizations cannot recognize opportunities to further compete for attention and relevance, it cannot, by default, create meaningful connections, a desirable brand or drive shareable experiences. The brand, as a result, will lost preference in the face of consumer choice, which may one day lead to its succumbing to digital Darwinism.

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.

Camera That Can Capture At The Speed Of Light [video]

Posted in film, innovation, photography by aldorf on January 4, 2012

A team from the MIT media lab has created a camera with a “shutter speed” of one trillion exposures per second — enabling it to record light itself traveling from one point to another. Using a heavily modified Streak Tube (which is normally used to intensify photons into electron streams), the team could snap a single image of a laser as it passed through a soda bottle. In order to create the slow-motion film in the video we’ve got after the break, the team had to replicate the experiment hundreds of times. The stop-motion footage shows how light bounces through the bottle, collecting inside the opaque cap before dispersing. The revolutionary snapper may have a fast shutter but the long time it takes to process the images have earned it the nickname of the “the world’s slowest fastest camera.” (via engadget.com)

Really Cool – Conductive Silver Ink from a Ballpoint Pen

Posted in design, ideas by aldorf on December 20, 2011

 

Dentsu London were inspired by the University of Illinois’ experiments with making silver conductive ink.

more behind the scenes on their blog here.

Building A New Agency OS – by Mel Exon

Posted in ideas, quality by aldorf on December 5, 2011

Louis CK “Everythings Amazing & Nobodys Happy” ::::: So True

Posted in innovation, inspiration, quality by aldorf on December 1, 2011

Prototyping “Love Handles” – The Copenhagenize Way

Posted in design, ideas, innovation by aldorf on October 25, 2011

Wow! Microsoft Builds A Functioning ‘Holodesk’

Posted in film, innovation, pioneers by aldorf on October 20, 2011

It’s a start but – wow – that’s amazing and something the world has been waiting for since 1987. It’s not quite a Holodeck, but it’s tantalizingly close.

The reasearch arm of Microsoft, unlike the rest of the company, spends its days spinning crazed dreams into hacked reality.

Today Microsoft Research released a rather fascinating demonstration of one of its projects, what it calls a ‘holodesk,’ which has the potential to change the way we physically interact with digital items. Sounds trippy? That’s because it is. The user, looking down on a pane of glass, sees items (balls, blocks, whatever) on that screen. With their hands underneath the glass, they can move their appendages and digits and prod those images as if they were directly touching them.

It’s a bridge, essentially, between the physical and the digital. Microsoft dubs the idea at the “research project” stage only, so don’t get your hopes up about getting one for yourself. And of course, it uses a Kinect.

Now, if this is only a research project, why does it matter? Microsoft, as a company, is working on all fronts to build on what it calls ‘natural user interfac[ing].” What this means is that the firm is looking past the keyboard and mouse (blasphemy) and is instead working with touch, voice, and so forth. This is especially important in the tablet world that the company is so desperately behind in.

it’s hard not to wish that more of what Microsoft Research was market-ready. (via thenextweb)

The Michael Bay of Business – Cindy Gallop @ The Black Apartment

Posted in film, ideas, inspiration by aldorf on October 19, 2011

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