Tag Archives: Social

From Social Graph To Product Graph: Engaging Through Interactive Product & Content Display

Whenever I have purchased an electronic gadget, I have had a hard time deciding on compatible accessories or products that are related to my purchase, and their necessity. Questions keep popping in my head: Do I really need it, do I need some research on accessories as well, am I buying the right thing? And this has always made me admire the Amazon website as I find most of the answers right there. What I am talking about is their “also bought” and “considered” section on any product page.


I have also been a fan of Social graphs or Relation browsers (above), an aspect that I used in my professional networking venture Zitara. If we talk about some of the offerings available, we could look at Touchgraph that graphs Amazon books and clusters the results, relationships between them, etc. There are a few others e.g. Thinkmap, Constellation Roamer, that are relatively well known.

In my opinion, interactive product graphs within any e-commerce site that has numerous products to display, would make our selection & decision-making process much easier.

They should display the following aspects: Competing products that fit my budget (range), accessories (per product), product reviews, friends (degrees away) that bought any of the products within my selection criteria, etc.


This would facilitate ease of selection, faster decision making and effective user engagement:

  • Ease of selection: As demonstrated above, based on parameters aka ‘faceted search’ and by applying weights to your selection criteria
  • Decision making: Range of information right from a list of related accessories, friends who seem to have an opinion on that product, #reviews/ratings
  • User Engagement: Ability to make this as interactive flex-based chart so everything gets compared and decided right on this very page

Non-impulse buyers, such as me, probably waste 40-60% time by postponing their decision, as they feel they do not have the right data or adequate information to make the right decision. By becoming a one-stop shop for content (by sourcing, partnering) and an interface that aids decision-making (rather than confusing the buyer by giving him too many options to compare), an e-commerce site should definitely be able to take up the conversion rates up by 10-15% and reduce the time spent on indecision by 40-50%.


Google Page Rank vs. Social Influence Rank

Many of us might be well aware of Google’s Page Rank algorithm, SEO techniques, and the fact that they work quite well serving the information seekers and the publishers (content creators). Hence, pages with high rank or on top of SERPs are usually relevant and highly recommended. However, as a publisher, you do need a degree of technical sophistication and SEO jugglery to be able get a higher rank despite creating perfect (relevant and unique) content. Well, nothing comes easy these days, isn’t it?

All (except creepy crawlers) welcome to the Social party?

Enter social. It would have been logical for search engines to gleefully jump into these environments and start indexing content (tweets, reviews, discussions, images and videos). Socials generate content at a speed faster than most e-groups, photo-sharing sites and probably a terabyte of content while we blink during the peaks! However, socials (read Facebook) have kept search engines at bay, and rightly so as it’s their territory, their data, and they want to protect it well. Who wants ‘free’ exposure, not them for sure? It’s only now that things are opening up with Facebook and Bing, but in a controlled way.

Would something like a Google Page Rank have relevance within a social context?

If you ask me, with some tweaks, a big yes! However the context (social network) might require a different approach, but with a little more thought we can achieve better applicability. So let’s see how we could draw some parallels:

Page Rank in Social: A ratio of links vs. sinks, which way they point and how deep does this linkage run might have direct affinity to my friends (links), their friends and friends of friends on a Social e.g. Facebook. On Twitter, it might find semblance with followers (links) and following (sinks).

SEO Parameters in Social: What are the top 5 parameters deciding a website’s SEO success: Links, URL, Meta Tags, Page Content and Sitemap.  On a Social, similar parameters might be: Connections, Profile, Presence (across Socials), Vocation (content that we create e.g. tweets and posts, topics one alludes on, images/video we upload).

Web Page Rank Social Influence Rank SIR Components
Links, URL Connections: Friends, Followers and following

– Relationships strength
– Speaker or listener

Meta Tags
Profile Strength

– Tags, Interests, Profile

Sitemap Social Presence (Where else am I?)

– Socials (FB, Orkut, Twitter), Blogs, eGroups

Page Content Vocation, Domains or Expertise

– Content created: Posts, topics, images/video, expertise

– Topics I like/share


Talking of Metrics in Social: Impressions might correspond to number of profile, tweet or post views. Actions might range from a re-tweet or comment all the way to traffic generation to an external site which could result in another ad-impression or a successful transaction (if landing on eBay or Amazon). We could conjure new metrics e.g. APC (action generated per centi, 100 posts or tweets) for the socials.

Who would be interested in looking at my Social Rank?

Well, both you (profile publisher) and the marketing firms (buyers) who are searching for social influencers.

If you are a person with a high APC i.e. Socially active, 100s of friends, write 100s of posts/tweets per month on a topic close to your heart (vacations, food, bikes, clothes, cameras), and your friends listen, reply, like, and share what you have to say, you are Hot property for marketers! You, without realizing why, might start receiving special privileges, freebies, coupons, and much more. The marketing firms would fall over each other trying to entice you to say something special about their products. Social moderators would throttle their eagerness so that they don’t disturb the magic you are already creating within your network of avid listeners.

Socials might tag you based on the type of content you create, calculate your Social present value (APC * Value-created through ad-impression or transaction). They might even rate you on a 5 point scale between limits e.g. ‘active initiator’ and ‘passive reader’. As you progress towards being an active initiator (i.e. a person who disseminates as well as acts upon what he reads), your SPV keeps going up!

Relevance To Social Media Strategy?

This, as a package, could be valuable to marketing firms grappling with either ‘how to kick-off their social media strategy’ or ‘I have a FB page, now what?’. Social media strategy is all about increasing user engagement and recollection through content dissemination. The fact about ‘out of sight’, out of mind’ is much more prominent in this environment. So, as a marketing firm, if I have the ability to create unique content, and I am able to leverage a group of relevant (tags) Socially active (APC) profiles, who shall disseminate my messages, we have our Social media strategy clicking, whatever be my objectives!

I have created a framework that might help solidify this ranking mechanism and provide L2 details. Watch this space for a follow-up note!