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The Interest Graph

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There’s a lot of buzz going around on the Interest Graph. The Wikipedia definition is:

 

"The Interest Graph refers to the specific and varied interests that form one’s personal identity, and the attempt to connect people based on those interests."

 

For us at Comrz, the Interest Graph is not just about the people connections (although that is important). It’s also about presenting users with the most relevant white papers, networking and purchasing opportunities. It’s about showing them the best videos and and the most relevant ads.

 

It’s also about making sure that people only get the messages they will actually be interested in, and that the content of the messages is focused and relevant.

 

The Unified User Account

 

The single most important factor in building up an accurate interest graph on your users is for them to have a unified user account. It means that all the interests are collated against a single user profile which is then used throughout your engagement with your customers.

 

The second most important element is to use the profile data you have to provide the highest level of personalisation throughout all your customer interactions. That engagement can be online, via messages, or even direct via telesales.

 

If you have a traditional online setup you will be running multiple different touch point solutions with your customers, everything from your CMS / Blog solution, networking / community solution, through to your ecommerce / shopping cart, campaign service, analytics services, forum software, survey software and much more. It’s essential that you integrate these all with your centralised user accounts. It is also just as important that you integrate back into the respective solutions so that you can act on these interests.

 

Affino does all of this with just a bit of setup.

 

Overt and Covert Profiling

 

Everyone has some interests, some more than others, but for most companies and websites only a subset is going to be relevant. It’s essential to identify these and shape your proposition and community around them. It’s also important to look at what other interests your community brings with them.

 

Affino’s Interest profiling starts with topics and keywords, user profiles, and conversion events. Topics define the set of interests which your site is targeting. They’re hierarchical so you can refine the targeting as far as makes sense. On small targeted sites it could only be a dozen terms, and thousands for large online communities and stores.

 

User Profiles and in particular demographic profiling allows your users and your team to build up a clear picture of your member’s interests. You can set up completion profiles to encourage users to fill these out (as LinkedIn does), and you can use conversion events to automatically identify users’ interests.

 

360 Degree Targeting

 

Most Interest Graphing solutions focus on identifying users interests, normally by providing integration APIs to connect into a myriad of tools. Typically these systems also have emailing / campaign banner systems attached which target users based on ther interests. They do tend though to be one-way, i.e. the information just goes in.

 

Affino takes this a lot further. Since Affino can deliver all the content, media, networking, campaigns, messaging and commercial elements online, it can shape the delivery based on user’s interests. At the heart of this are Recommendations, which can be placed throughout every page, and within newsletter messages. Recommendations in Affino cover everything from Jobs and contacts, through to event, blogs, products, videos and other media.

 

Every Affino release sees improved recommendations. Affno 7.1 sees more rotation, more calls to action, improved recommenation filters (so users aren’t recommended items they’ve already purchased or jobs they’re applied for).

 

Targeted Campaigns

 

When running an interest-focused campaign, it’s essential that it be as complete and consistent as possible. Too often campaigns fall down somewhere along the way. Since Affino can handle everything from the initial message send and banner displays, through to the promotional pages, signup and checkout it means that the path is much more likely to be smooth and without issues.

 

Behind the scenes, all content, campaigns, messags etc. can be marked up with Topics. These can in turn easily be matched with users’ interests. Topics can be used to auto-generate landing pages based on topics / interests. Campaigns and Messages can now also be filtered based on interests (Affino 7.1).

 

Targeted Leads

 

A big step forward in Affino 7.1 is that it is now much easier to use interests to drive lead generation. The Automated Customer Ladder can use conversion events to automatically assign topics / interests to users based on their activity. The events can also be used to trigger secondary events whereby sales / marketing team members can be notified of the leads, and can then apply additional filters on them.

 

Automation is Key

 

One of the most important elements for targeting interests is to make sure that you do it consistently, that it is fully personalised, and ideally with a high frequency, triggered by specific acts that will interest your customer base.

 

All of the profiling, content tagging, conversion events, newletters, campaigns and promotions can be set up to run automatically. That means zero effort on the live site, except where you’re evolving and testing futher targeting.

 

Affino allows you to trigger notifications based on all kinds of activities (and inactivity). It allows the notifications to be highly personalised, and filtered and targeted based on the users’ interests. It also does this all automatically based on the rules you define.

 

If you want to know more about how to fully embrace the interest graph then get in touch.

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