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Leveraging the Interest Graph for Meaningful Impact

By Gina Rau | Posted on March 14, 2012

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When Facebook announced new features of the Open Graph that would give marketers insights into consumer intentions, organizations everywhere were buzzing about the potential. To have early indicators directly from a consumer who announces they Want your product, or your competitor’s, is marketing gold.

Now that app developers are coming to market with different tools that allow organizations to replace the over-used Like button with a more actionable verb, the challenge will be to look above all the noise created by a constant stream of data to find valuable nuggets that can be leveraged for impact.

Meaningful Actions Add Up to Impact

We’ve heard for well over a year that marketers must look “beyond the Like”, but never has it been more important as people are Liking brands, products and pages in random fits of clicks. A fan page Like isn’t as valuable as a page Like plus a wall comment, just like following a brand isn’t as valuable as making a purchase and then sharing that action to the social stream. Consumer actions add up to meaningful value but it’s important to look at the type and combination of actions.

The Key is to Consider Context

In addition to noting the type of engagement, it’s also important to understand the context in which people interact with your brand, whether on your site or a social network like Facebook. Let’s look at an example of Julie who has previously purchased basketball gear from for her son and has connected her social identities to her Sports Authority profile.

She’s now a new runner and impressionable when it comes to the topic. She recently “Liked” many running pages and blogs on Facebook, read product reviews and now needs new running gear. With insights into her intentions via the actions she’s taking online, Sports Authority can personalize offers and messages to her that are more likely to get Julie’s attention


Recognizing Buying Signals

Consumer brand marketers now have visibility into the various activities that indicate someone is ready to buy. These insights can trigger marketing programs that help the buyer move closer to a purchase – product recommendation, ad messaging, email promotion, etc.

Many website owners are missing access to the pre-purchase research consumers are doing on their site that indicate interest. If you can encourage visitors to sign into your site early using a social profile identity with special offers or the promise of a personalized experience, you immediately gain access to their data so that you can start to build their profile and a relationship.

Context becomes important again as you look at the various activities people might take to indicate their buying readiness. Liking my friend’s cat pictures doesn’t imply that I’m ready to buy cat products, or even own a cat. But Liking those pictures, posting my own to the Purina site, visiting and Liking their Facebook page are strong indications of my interest and intentions.

Bringing It All Together

The Holy Grail in developing smart user intelligence is pulling together actionable data from multiple sources to create a full 360-degree view of individuals within your audience. With data held in social profiles (interests, activities, etc.) + purchase history + site behavior you develop this rich profile of individuals.

For the marketer that cracks this code, the spoils are great. Consumers prefer a personalized experience on your site – who wouldn’t? In fact, recent research indicates that 51% of consumers find a personalized experience compelling enough to increase the likelihood that they’ll return to a site and buy products.


The benefits for website visitors are a more pleasurable experience, one where they can easily find or discover what they’d like and make their purchase. The advantages for organizations leveraging social profile and open graph data are clear when you can improve your marketing efficiencies and increase sales.

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About the author

Gina Rau

Gina Rau

Marketing Communications Manager

With almost 20 years of marketing success, Gina is a brand engagement specialist who seeks out creative solutions for every marketing challenge. Her work has delivered results for leading brands like Whole Foods, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, JCPenney, Tillamook Creamery and more. At Janrain, she leads the charge to make sure our company, products and services shine through our messaging and content.

View all posts by Gina Rau