We continue to hear more about personalization for social media channels. This past week, the Instagram blog had a very simple announcement: “To improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.”
There’s a big promise in that simple announcement. Instagram is letting us know that it plans to invest more in getting to know what users like and dislike, and place a higher priority on understanding how to deliver a more relevant experience.
The Instagram blog also notes, “you may be surprised to learn that people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds.” Instagram knows that the social universe is getting ever more crowded, and they have to do a better job of grabbing and holding our attention. eConsultancy reports that Instagram users spend 21 minutes a day on the app. That’s a lot of time, but if we assume that a typical Instagrammer breaks up her 21 minutes into smaller intervals throughout the day, and that she spends those intervals paging quickly through her friends’ posts, checking her own for likes and comments, and taking in the occasional ad, it’s clear how crowded those 21 minutes really are. Bore her and she’ll just page through faster, missing even more of what she logged on to see.
Better social media personalization
To improve the experience, Instagram told users, they will now re-order Instagram feeds so users can “see the moments we believe you will care about the most.” We’ll infer that Instagram is also tweaking their feed to deliver the ads with which users are most likely to engage.
And that’s OK. Personalization for social media should be laser-focused on delivering to us what we want. If our social media channels know us so well that they can know who our favorite musician is and show us a video from that concert we wanted to see, as Instagram promises, that’s just as good as your best friend writing to tell you, “did you see this on YouTube last night?” And if Instagram can get just as good with delivering ads, it’s the same as your friend writing to tell you, “tickets go on sale tomorrow for the show, you in?”
Getting to that personal level
The trick is how to get there. After all, in real life and in social media, it takes a while to build a friendship, and there’s a lot of trust and sharing that has to go on. But it’s through that dual process of sharing and extrapolation that you can get to the heart of the relationship.
There are a lot of ways to parse data in order to get to know a user better. Smart players in social are using a wide variety of cues to make better decisions about what to serve up to users. From user profiles, listening tools, and basic clickstream data to more sophisticated approaches based on natural language processing and machine learning, social sites are able to draw a more accurate picture of who wants what.
eContext enhances that process in a few ways. First, we can help you pull all of your data into a single data set in real time. That way, you can see the big picture from all your data with very little effort on your part. We also map all of that data to a deep taxonomy so that you can drill through tiers to get better insights on user interest and make smarter predictions about user intent. Our taxonomy has been created and curated by real people who understand the difference between a reference to jaguars at the zoo and Jaguars on the car lot. We deliver 21 tiers of categories, with 450,000 nodes to help you deliver the kind of personalization experience that keeps visitors engaged. Whether you’re a social site or a publisher looking to deliver better content and more relevant ads, or you’re researcher trying to deliver more relevance, we can help you pull and use data.
Why do we do it? We want our social feed to be more relevant, too.