The interest graph – what’s it to you?

Tine Thygesen is the founder and CEO of Everplaces. The text is taken from our publication “Access over ownership”, about the trend of wanting access to things instead of owning them. Collaborative consumption and the interest graph is two of the topics featured at Media Evolution The Conference in August.

To get people engaged on peer to peer market places it’s important, as Lauren Anderson wrote, to harness their interests by focusing on niche products.

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 a marketer, a product builder or you have anything to sell. 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.

Last decade marketers learned to use the 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? It is. Because the fact is that just because you’re connected with random old school friends who you probably haven’t seen for a decade, its very unlikely their taste and preference say anything meaningful about what you’ll like.

Reach your most likely fans

The interest graph begins with who you are, your existing taste and preferences and tries to connect you with only if you fall within the scope of the product. The theory is that 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.

Personally I am a product builder, and my company Everplaces is built around the interest graph. The keyword for us is relevance. Let me explain; Everplaces’ industry is travel info and recommendations. We want to fix the problem of 90 % of the info in guidebook being irrelevant to you as an individual, because when services like Tripadvisor tries to serve info that’s a little bit useful for everyone that means it’s perfect for no one. We believe we can offer more relevance by using the interest graph to personalize, in our case on top of the social graph.

Interest is a trend

We’re not the only company to have seen this change as an opportunity. The interest graph creates business opportunities in niches that weren’t financially viable before. This is because services now can become so narrow that they hit a target group perfectly. And that can become big in these days when distribution is digital.

So you can hit a narrow segment in a huge geographical area. Most people think crowd funding like Kickstarter is too risky, but because there’s 1 % who loves it, it’s a great business. The Foodspotting app is the same.

The strength is the narrowness.