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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)

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.

Smart Clients Become Their Agency’s Best Client – Steve Jobs’ And Phil Knight’s Marketing Secret

Posted in inspiration, Media, quality by aldorf on October 18, 2011

Great post by Avi Dan

To get the most out of their agency, smart clients become their agency’s best client. Steve Jobs understood this. So did Phil Knight from Nike. They understood what matters to agencies and to agency people:

  1. Death by nitpicking. Nothing wears out agencies faster than re-do’s, having to rework the same idea over and over again. I had a simple rule with my agency: we allowed ourselves only 3 strikes.  If, by the third revision, the idea was still not approved, we retired it and moved on to the next idea.
  2. People who can say, “Yes”. Too often the agency has to present ideas to middle managers who are not decision makers, and whose role is often limited to rejecting ideas. Smart clients involve the person who can say “Yes” from the get-go, be it the CMO or even the CEO.
  3. Collaboration. Agencies crave respect – clients that empower them to have a more consultative relationship, rather than a vendor-like arrangement. A key value an agency can bring to the relationship is third-party objectivity, as the client view and the customer view need to be supplemented by an independent agency view in a healthy relationship.
  4. Creative hothouse. Creative showcase accounts, and the chance to win creative awards, attract a disproportionate share of the agency’s, and the industry, best talent. A great client has uncompromising standards of creativity and an almost religious belief in a great brief.
  5. Evaluations. Great clients are objective and encourage two-way communication. They implement a 360-degrees evaluation process, where client and agency have equal input. For great clients, the evaluation process is a dialogue, not a report card. It is designed to inspire mastery, beyond just capturing functioning capability.
  6. Compensation. Smart clients encourage agencies to become their business partners and be measured by business results, aligning compensation with outcomes, and giving them an opportunity for maximizing their upside.

It is up to the CMO and his or her marketing team to create an atmosphere of excellence on their business, and an inspired culture of achievement. An great client, one with the passion to become an agency’s best client, will attracts a disproportionate amount of agency talent that will give it a strategic competitive edge.

Follow Avi on Twitter.

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

GIF Shop – Brilliant New iPhone App

Posted in Animation, film, Media, photography by aldorf on August 17, 2011

Love it! The animated .gif maker for your iPhone. Easily create and edit looping animations, upload to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr all on the go! get it at the app store

Big Idea! Event-driven Programming For The Masses – ifttt.com

Posted in design, internet, quality by aldorf on May 11, 2011

ifttt – Short for “if this then that”.
New Service with the potential to make a significant impact.

In today’s time-pressured world, people are constantly looking for ways to speed up their daily tasks. Hoping to help towards that end, we recently came across ifttt — an application that allows users to exercise their creativity in automating certain online activities. Ifttt hopes to automate digital tasks so that they can trigger a function for which they were not originally designed. This is made possible through a “trigger” and “action” model. For example, a trigger could be “If I’m tagged in a photo on Facebook”. When this occurs, it will automatically execute an action, such as “create a tweet on twitter”. Tibbets gives another example: “For instance, you can use Google reader starred items to share images on your Tumblr blog, or customize how and which photos from your Flickr stream show up on your Facebook wall.” These tasks can be turned on and off, with a maximum of ten being turned on at once. Ifttt ultimately relies on the creativity of its users to effectively automate their online activities. However, by making this a simple and intuitive process, Ifttt has the potential to make a significant impact.

Apple Takes On Instapaper

Posted in internet, Media, web by aldorf on April 30, 2011

The news comes only a few days after Arment said that he will retire the free version of Instapaper on the iPhone and iPad, …

Instapaper developer Marco Arment doesn’t seem too worried though, saying on Twitter,

“For many reasons, I believe Instapaper would still have a market even if Apple implemented Reading List synced to iOS devices.” He also said that it appears the feature is more closely imitating ReadItLater at the moment, which isn’t as feature-rich as Instapaper.

A Crowdsourced ‘Timeline for the World’

Posted in Media, photography, web by aldorf on April 29, 2011

Thanks Angela Maiers for your comment on my recent post around crowdsourcing tools. You recommended vineme.com as a very useful tool. For almost one year  Josh FlemingTony Muse and Chris Taulborg have been hard at work building Des Moines’ newest startup, VineMe. VineMe is billed as a “social platform that allows the world to crowdsource content by time, tags, places and people.” (public launch March 31, 2011). Here is what Josh Fleming says about this new crowdsourcing venture:

“We want to curate life through visual content. I always enjoy discovering content in new ways. It’s why people flocked to the internet. It’s why Google quickly became a verb. It’s why apps are so popular. The combination of discovery and ease of use is what is driving technology today. We think VineMe offers both.”

“Storify” Your Social Media Life – Now In Public Beta

Posted in internet, Media, pioneers by aldorf on April 26, 2011
Image representing Storify as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

http://storify.com,  a company building tools to help journalists, bloggers and experts curate the real-time Web.

Storify stories have been viewed more than 13 million times on their site and across the Web since private beta launch in September 2010. They had 4.2 million views just in March.
Private beta users have created more than 21,000 stories. Storify stories have been embedded on more than 5,000 sites — including some of the most-read destinations on the Web like The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalThe Washington PostLos Angeles Times, The Guardian, BBC, NPR, PBS, CBC and many other blogs and sites.

The Three Muscles of Creativity – Inspiring Short by Intel

Posted in design, film, ideas, inspiration, quality by aldorf on April 26, 2011

In this Intel Visual Life short documentary, Michael Wolff, co-founder of Wolff Olins Agency and considered one of the preeminent visionaries and perhaps the father of 20th century brand expression and identity, talks about his approach to looking at the world, including the muscles of curiosity, appreciation, and imagination. I admire the innovative branding work of Wolff Olins. This short documentary is another reminder of what it’s all about.

“I have three muscles, without which I couldn’t do my work. The first is curiosity. (You can call it inquisitiveness, you can call it questioning.) The second muscle [is] the muscle of appreciation. It’s not questioning so much as it is noticing… how joyful things can be, how colorful things can be, what already exists as an inspiration. The muscle of curiosity and the muscle of appreciation enable the muscle of imagination. Everybody knows that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. What few people realize it is only through the parts that the whole gets delivered. I see seeing as a muscular exercise, like I see curiosity. It’s a kind of being open, really: If you walk around with a head full of preoccupation, you’re not going to notice anything in your visual life.” ~ Michael Wolff”

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