Digital Digest #58: Pinterest and the Interest Graph

Digital Digest: What Edelman Canada is reading in digital marketing, technology and strategy. Fresh links served up Fridays.

recent comScore report shines a light on the fastest growing social networks, and the breakout hits are smaller networks serving a niche audience. To take one example, Pinterest, a visual bookmarking site that encourages users to organize their “pins” into interest categories, increased time spent on site worldwide by 512%. Pinterest is part of a new wave of online networks that allow users to follow their interests as well as their friends. This poses a puzzling question: do we as users want to discover new content based on our interests or our social connections (or both)? And will niche sites and apps that leverage the Interest Graph, like Pinterest, LOOKBOOKQuoraInstagram and Untappd, attract more users than sites that leverage the Social Graph, like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter?

Newspapers have always organized their content according to different interests, which helps readers quickly flip to the information that matters most to them while ignoring the rest (your editor has never picked up the “Wheels” section in his life). How this behaviour translates online is important for digital marketers and communicators. Niche networks are “gaining buzz among users and catching marketers’ eyes—and will be worth following in 2012,”  states eMarketer. Ultimately we will need adaptive strategies that incorporate increasingly influential niche networks, especially those with a direct connection to our and our clients’ different industries. That’s why this week’s edition of Edelman Canada’s Digital Digest looks at how consumers are engaging with niche networks that cater to interests before friends.

- Matthew Hayles, Editor

Social Media Gets Interesting

“How many brands can we actually have social relationships with?” asks Mullen CIO Edward Boches on his blog. We humans have a limited number of social connections we can maintain at any one time, but we also have dozens of products, places, books and destinations in our bucket list. This information, what consumers intend to do, is perfect for marketers who want to serve up relevant calls to action.

Creativity_unbound: Social media gets interesting

Disclosure: Harley Davidson, mentioned in this article, is an Edelman client.

Curate to Dominate the Media

“Sports is one of the largest and oldest online interest verticals,” writes Edelman Digital EVP Steve Rubel in this e-book on the future of media. But sports journalists and broadcasters are racing to keep up with athletes and teams that are increasingly behaving like their own media companies – publishing updates on their blogs and amplifying through social media. Successful media brands are creating value for readers by “separating art from junk,” saving their customers time in a world of too much content. (See last item for more on this.)

Edelman Digital: The Clip Report

Home Is Where the Niche Is

Consumers spread their online activities between a variety of networks, “finding value and fulfillment in building our own personal social media ecosystem,” writes The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal. “Like a forest getting older, our social network usage will continue to diversify. And that’s a good thing. The many overlapping networks will come to occupy personalized niches in the social biome,” he predicts.

The Atlantic: How Multiple Social Networks Will Peacefully Coexist

Disclosure: LinkedIn, mentioned in this article, is an Edelman client.

Twitter Photo-Sharing Goes Through the Roof

Photo-sharing tools like Instagram and Flickr have built substantial communities of photography enthusiasts, but the majority of photos shared on Twitter have been through third-party services like Twitpic and Yfrog. Now Twitter itself is offering a photo-sharing tool built into its popular network, leading to a 421 per cent increase in photo sharing while eroding the hold Twitpic and Yfrog have had on the market, writes AllThingsD’s Liz Gannes. Meanwhile Instagram, which has nurtured its own community of casual photography enthusiasts, continues to see strong growth in photo shares.

AllThingsD: Twitter Photo-Sharing Goes Through the Roof

Case Study: A Facebook for your Mercedes

Facebook is bringing its network closer to car enthusiasts by building its service into Mercedes-Benz vehicles, unveiled this week at the Consumer Electronic Show. “The version of Facebook offered in Daimler AG’s Mercedes is stripped down to a limited set of features, specially designed for drivers and centered around the locations of friends and businesses,” reports Reuters.

Reuters: Facebook’s newest frontier is inside a Mercedes

Disclosure: Chevrolet, a competitor to Mercedes-Benz, is an Edelman client in the US.

What would Google News+ look like?

Google this week launched a controversial update to Search that personalizes results using information from Google+. Nieman Journalism Lab asks how Google could apply the Social Graph to serve up a more personalized news discovery experience to reader of Google News, a service that already allows users to build personalized landing pages that highlight their interests. “Google has the search DNA, the news-crawling infrastructure, and at least the start of the network knowledge that could combine to make something new.”

Nieman Journalism Lab: What would Google News+ look like?

Edelman Canada’s Digital Digest is a weekly bundle of links, served up on Edelman Canada’s Our Ideas blog on Fridays. It’s also available by email. If you know someone who would like to be added to the mailing list, have any questions or just want to share some thoughts on anything you read here, email me. Let’s get a conversation going.

Digital Digest is edited by Matthew Hayles.

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