@padday Hi, my name is
Paul Adams. You can ﬁnd me on Twitter. I work at Facebook, in the Ads team. Iʼm the Product Manager for Ads user experience, basically helping to ﬁgure out what advertising should be on Facebook in the future. WHAT IʼM TAKING YOU THROUGH TODAY ARE MY OWN THOUGHTS, NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF FACEBOOK.
The web is being rebuilt
around people. People live in networks. Networks determine how people inﬂuence each other. I want to talk to you about three things today, and here they are. Almost anyone working in the online commerce, advertising or marketing space will need to become familiar with these three things in the foreseeable future.
1 2 3 BOLTED ON
FROM THE G ROUND UP Letʼs look at what has happened in the past 10 years. The web was originally built to link static documents together (left), but evolved to incorporate social media (center), and weʼre now seeing a web built around people, where their proﬁles and content are moving with them as they visit different websites (right).
Letʼs look at some examples.
Up until recently, most of us chose hotels by going online and looking at aggregated reviews. But these reviews are appended to hotels. Bolted on.
With Living Social, you get
your deal for free if you get three friends to also buy the deal. The product is oriented around people and their interactions.
The web is being rebuilt
around people. This is an undeniable fact. Businesses are going to have to understand this and adapt, or other more disruptive companies will take their place.
So, why is the web
being rebuilt around people? Itʼs pretty obvious why this is happening.
In a nutshell, the internet
is catching up with ofﬂine life. Social networks are not new. For thousands of years, people have formed into groups, built strong and weak relationships with others, formed allegiances, and spread rumor and gossip. The emergence of the social web is simply our online world catching up with our ofﬂine world.
social is a way of
thinking The social web, and all social media that operate within it, is a way of thinking as opposed to a new channel. Itʼs not about sales, or ads, or click-through rates. Itʼs about pursuing relationships and fostering communities of consumers. Itʼs about rethinking how you make plans when your business is built around your customers, with them in control.
Buy this? No. People are
increasingly using the web to get the information they need from each other, rather than from businesses. People always sourced information from each other ofﬂine. But up until now, online information retrieval tending to be from a business to a person.
? People are increasingly likely
to ﬁnd out about products and brands from their friends rather than from your business. It means that it is much harder to control how people ﬁrst come to experience your messages.
Here we can see a
review on their homepage. We donʼt know who this person is, but in the future weʼll know things like who out of our friends has bought this bag, who has bought this brand, who bought competitor brands, what do our friends think of this brand, and weʼll have ways to communicate with them to ask their opinion.
People live in networks. If
we want to understand what motivates people to act in the way that they do, we need to understand that people live in networks. When we think of our customers, itʼs easier to think about people in isolation. People as independent actors. But that doesnʼt exist. People live in networks. Peopleʼs networks inﬂuence almost every aspect of their lives. What they do. Where they go. What brands they prefer. What products they buy.
People have different types of
relationships. The second thing to know about peopleʼs networks is that we have different relationships with different people, and are closer to some people than others. Each relationship between two people is unique.
We trust some people in
a group on one set of topics, and others on a different set. We trust on of our friends more on good places to eat, another on good places to go on vacation. Think about how this is true in your own life.
Temporary ties Once the task
has been completed, temporary ties are unlikely to interact again. You don't know these people beyond the one conversation you had, or the words they typed and whatever online proﬁle they have. Your interaction with them is temporary. With the rise of user generated content online, temporary ties are becoming more important.
10 strong ties 100 strong
ties 1,000 strong ties 10,000 strong ties So letʼs look at this another way. If each person has 10 strong ties, and they pass a message onto each of their strong ties - buy this brand, vote for this candidate, go here on vacation, then that message only has to be passed on 3 times to reach 10,000 people. Remember, this is 10,000 people who have been told something by someone they are very close to, someone they trust deeply.
Networks determine how people inﬂuence
each other. So that leads me to the third thing I want to talk about today - the topic of inﬂuence. We've learned that people live in networks. These networks inﬂuence where they go, what they do, and what they buy.
What their social network looks
like What they have experienced before There are two primary factors in understanding whether someone can be inﬂuenced: - What their social network looks like - What they have experienced before Iʼm only going to focus on the top one today.
People try to behave rationally,
they try to make objective decisions, but other factors mean that they can't. The problem is that we all have limited access to information, and limited memory. Because of this, we have learned to rely on others to help us make decisions. We assume that other people know things we don't. In fact, we do this so often, that we automatically look to the actions of others, even when the answer is obvious.
How many connections we have.
Who knows whom. The strength of our relationships. The proportion using different brands. This includes how big the network is, and who is connected to whom. For example, more connections within our groups can reinforce a behavior. If one of our friends recommends something, we may consider it. If three of our friends recommend something, weʼre almost certainly going to consider it. Before ideas can reinforce themselves within groups, they need to enter the group from somewhere else. Some group members need to know people in other groups.
A B BLOGGER Consider these
two social networks: In social network A, ideas canʼt spread between the groups because no one is a member of more than one group. Even though one person is a prominent blogger, that community just talks to one another and ideas canʼt cascade to the other groups. In social network B, two people are in two groups. Both of these people can pass ideas from one of their groups to the other. When it comes to creating cascades and trends, looking for networks with connected groups is more important than looking for one highly connected person. To maximize the spreading of ideas, it is important that ideas are seeded in social networks that have connected groups, and have groups where most of the members know each other.
BLOGGER FRIENDS Hereʼs a simple
example. Letʼs imagine an “inﬂuencer” was telling me to buy Adidas. But two of my other friends are telling me to buy Puma. Who do you think is more inﬂuential?
Understanding how people inﬂuence each
other is not simple. It's certainly not as simple as many people believe - that there are a small number of very inﬂuential people in society, and if you reach and inﬂuence them, they will inﬂuence hundreds, thousands and even millions of others. Many research studies have shown that other factors play a much bigger part in how people are inﬂuenced.
flickr.com/photos/joanna8555/4041537710/ Studies into buying behavior
and decision making have consistently found that we are disproportionally inﬂuenced by the opinions and actions of the people around us. These can be the people around us in a physical space. Studies have shown that students with studious roommates become more studious themselves, and diners sitting next to heavy eaters tend to eat more.
Voting studies from the 1940s
showed that when it came to deciding who to vote for, people were less inﬂuenced by the media, and much more heavily inﬂuenced by members of their family and close friends. This is also true with buying behavior today. This study might be 60-70 years old, but remember that these behaviors are hard wired into all of us.
Inﬂuential? Inﬂuenceable? There may be
some individuals who have great inﬂuence, but it is without doubt that how people inﬂuence each other has many other factors. A key insight is that when we study how people inﬂuence each other, it's important to focus on the person being inﬂuenced as well as the person doing the inﬂuencing.
People have varying thresholds for
adopting new ideas. Our threshold is inﬂuenced by experience, such as good or bad past experiences with a brand. Itʼs also inﬂuenced by whether we have a risk-averse personality and deep-set habits.
Our strong ties inﬂuence us
the most. Research on buying behavior and decision making have consistently found that we are disproportionately inﬂuenced by the opinions and actions of the people we are closest to emotionally —our family, our best friends, and sometimes some of our co-workers.
Buy this OK Strong ties
often wield the most inﬂuence over peopleʼs decisions. For example, they are often the biggest factor in purchase decisions. Think about the last time you consulted a friend on whether to buy something. Chances are, it was quite recently.
Youʼre unlikely to buy this
Mercedes because Roger Federer is sitting on the bonnet. People canʼt relate to celebrities. If celebrity endorsement worked as a way to change peopleʼs behavior, weʼd all be skinny.
So the best way to
think about this is that the “inﬂuentials”, the highly connected people, the domain experts, the celebrities, they can only make us aware. They are not going to inﬂuence big changes in behavior. If we want to inﬂuence how people decide, we need to focus on strong ties.
The web is being rebuilt
around people. Social behavior is tens of thousands of years old. Understand what motivates people to act in the way that they do. People live in networks. Their networks are made of small connected groups. The people who connect the groups are not special. Weʼre inﬂuenced by the people around us. Mostly by our strong ties.
Information Memory The web is
increasing the volume of information available to us, but our capacity for memory isn't changing. So it's likely that we'll increasingly turn to others to make decisions. There was once a time when we picked what restaurant to eat in by looking in the window. But now, we often can't decide without pulling out our phones and searching the web for reviews from people who have eaten there before.
Awareness Consideration Preference Action Loyalty
The ﬁrst thing. Stop using this funnel to think about consumer behavior. It doesnʼt exist. People donʼt act in a rational way. Nothing could be further from the truth. People live in networks. They are constantly inﬂuenced by the many things going on around them.
Iʼm not the ﬁrst person
to tell you this. There has been a lot of talk in the past couple of years about the funnel, and how it doesnʼt reﬂect how people behave anymore. For example, McKinsey did some research and mapped out this consumer journey - but this also considers people as independent actors. It doesnʼt take fully into account the fact that people live in networks. It treats people as being isolated from other people.
Forrester also published a new
type of funnel. Here is their diagram. They do talk about other people, including recommendations from friends, but I donʼt think this diagram will help you sell ideas to your manager.
Show people this diagram instead
of the funnel. The second thing. Get really good at targeting and focus on strong ties. People are most inﬂuenced by their strong ties. Find the right people for you - people whose attributes match that of your brand, your product - people whose lifestyles mean that they are likely to want and love your brand. Find these people and make it easy for them to tell their friends who may be interested.
The main argument to this
is that you canʼt get reach. But you can. Think about this person in the middle. She has 6 strong ties.
1000 passionate fans. They each
told 10 friends. Who each told 10 friends. Imagine you had 1000 passionate fans. Almost every brand has at least 1000 people who love what they do, even if it ﬂies in the face of popular opinion. Imagine they each told 10 friends, and those friends each told 10 friends about how great you are, or your new product, or how you make them feel.
Thatʼs 100,000 people who have
been told by someone they care about and trust. This approach scales. Donʼt be afraid to focus on highly targeted small connected groups of strong ties.
The web is being rebuilt
around people. Social behavior is tens of thousands of years old. Understand what motivates people to act in the way that they do. People live in networks. Their networks are made of small connected groups. The people who connect the groups are not special. Weʼre inﬂuenced by the people around us. Mostly by our strong ties. Find out more: www.thinkoutsidein.com/blog/2010/07/data-behind-real-life-social-network/ @padday