The prominence and popularity of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook has pushed companies and organizations to adopt various social media strategies to stay relevant and connected to their audiences. However, the question of how to show the ROI of these social media practices continues to be a conundrum for marketers. We all know that Facebook “likes” and Twitter “retweets” do not equate to dollar-to-dollar sales or donations. This is where the interest graph can help. It focuses on developing connections based on what people like and are interested in rather than who they know. Focusing on interests brings about a more personalized web browsing experience.
An example is Facebook’s Open Graph feature. It allows companies and organizers to learn the interests of their audiences and use this information to personalize their audience’s experience. Amazon.com is a great user of Open Graph. Profile data is gleaned by Amazon.com whenever someone logs on using Facebook Connect allowing Amazon.com to suggest products of interest to the audience. By using Open Graph, the product options and information people first see on the site are connected to their personal preferences. This keeps people browsing on the site for longer, increases the chances of a transaction, and thus increasing sales/donations.
A new social media platform that has received rapid adoption by consumers is Pinterest. Organizations are now creating their own boards to showcase themselves while liking pinned images on other users’ boards. The audience can be invited as guest contributors and pin what they like to the boards of various organizations. “Pin it” buttons are now appearing and are being placed beside products to track what the audience is interested in. Using these interests, organizations can now customize and personalize special offers, online advertisements, and merchandising.
Online advertising can now be more accurately targeted and personalized as there is now the ability to drive advertising using the audience’s interests. Twitter’s Promoted Tweets are such an example. Using information about who someone follows, clicks on, and tweets about on Twitter, an advertiser can have a highly-targeted distribution of the advertisement online.