Forget The Social Graph: Follow The Interest Graph For New Opportunities

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The interest graph concept works like this: you reach less people, but you reach them on a deeper level. By Tine Thygesen (Co-Founder & CEO, Everplaces)

As people are bombarded with more and more information, they become more and more fatigued, harder to engage and picky about what they’ll listen to. That represents a challenge if you’re an entrepreneur and a marketer.

The interest graph might be your answer. It is the next step in our human mission to filter, curate and make sense of the information overload.

The interest graph digs into narrow verticals. Essentially you build a product around a particular interest, say a love for shoes, a passion for organic restaurants or babies, and then engage people around that.

Last decade, marketers learned to use social graph to establish a closer connection between a person and their message. It’s based in the assumption that if someone you like likes this, then you’ll like it too. Sounds silly when put like that, right? Well, it is. Because just because you’re connected to someone socially, say an old school friend you haven’t seen for a decade, doesn’t mean their taste and preference say anything meaningful about what you’ll like. We use social networks too broadly these days.

The interest graph begins with at who you are, your existing tastes and preferences. The theory is that a connection between two strangers deeply passionate about a shared topic can be more meaningful than those between friends with separate interests. For example, communities for new mothers where users you don’t know in real life can be of real help to you if you are a new mother.

On a commercial level, the concept works like this: you reach less people, but you reach them on a deeper level. It’s simply too hard and too expensive to try to change people’s tastes, so instead you focus on reaching the kind of people who are already interested in your kind of product and create a proper, deep engagement with them.

A whole range of industries is going to be disrupted by this interest graph and its brother, personalization. My own company Everplaces is an example of that. Our industry is travel info and recommendations. Right now it works to bookmark of places you’d love to visit.

Our big ambition is to solve problem that 90% of recommendations on the web being irrelevant to you as an individual, because when services like Yelp, Tripadvisor and Lonely Planet try to serve info that’s a little bit useful for everyone - it means it’s perfect for no one. We believe people are very different, and right now we’re building the interest graph into the way we prioritize what information is shown to you. The key word for us is relevance.

Many companies have demand for relevance and depth as an opportunity. The interest graph creates business opportunities in niches that weren’t financially viable before. This is because services and info now can become so narrow they hit a target group perfectly. And that can become big in these days where distribution is cheap. So you can hit a narrow segment in a huge geographical area. Most people consider crowd funding like Kickstarter too risky for their money, but because there’s 1% who loves it, it’s a great business. Foodspotting app is the same. The strength is the narrowness.

Editor's note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. About the guest blogger: Tine Thygesen is the Co-Founder and CEO of Everplaces, helping people to bookmark restaurants, galleries and other amazing places they’d like to remember and visit later. She is a serial entrepreneur. She is also a co-founder of Founders House, a co-working space for tech and mobile startups and on the board of the world’s biggest startup competition Venture Cup. Follow her on Twitter at @tahitahi.