Social Networks Going Visual
Social Networks are traditionally focused on sharing of status messages and links. The focus of these networks was about sharing of all kinds, but not as much as about the Visual aspects. This focus has been shifting recently to Visuals. This can be seen in the recent growth of the Visual Social Networks such as Instagram and Pinterest. These networks put the Visual aspects in front and center of the sharing.

Some of the facts that support this observation:
  • This week Facebook announced to buy Instagram for $1bn. (Instagram has just 13 employees but has about 50 million plus users. Instagram works by providing several photo filters that can make ordinary photos / pictures visually appealing. After applying filters these pictures can be share.)
  • Pinterest has 12 million users and has grown 145% from January to March. (Pinterest operates like an online pin board. Pinterest allows to bookmark (called pinning) any pictures that we see online and share them on a board. Anybody who likes your picture can also pin it. Popularity in terms of Pins most likely to get noticed and drive traffic)

The reasons for such focus on Visual aspects could be attributed to:

High quality Cameras on Mobile Devices:
With Smartphones, People now have access to high quality cameras all the time, leading to sharing pictures more and more. Some of the smartphones such as iPhone 4S have high quality cameras that can give many dedicated Point and Shoot cameras a run for their money.

Signal to Noise ratio on Traditional Social networks:
Traditional social networks such as Facebook, Orkut, MySpace, Twitter and Google+ can do so many things; so much so that it is hard to align with People’s interest. People refer this as Information Overload. I refer to this phenomenon as Social Pollution and Social Fatigue. This exact phenomenon is what is leading to Interest Based Social Networks. Visual Social Networks are a subset of Interest based Social Networks. Other examples of Interest based Social networks are – (Q&A based Social Network based on Topics interesting to a User), Foodspotting (Recipe based Interest Networks) and Endomondo and Fitocracy (Fitness based Interest networks)

Visual Appeal:
Humans are inherently visual. Visually appealing object stimulates our brains and makes us enjoy and share them :-)
While the reasons can be many, the impact of Visual social networks especially is astounding. Especially Pinterest has an astounding effect on online commerce. On-line businesses are flocking to have their presence felt on Pinterest. Here are some interest facts on how Pinterest is contributing to Social Commerce.

Impact on On-line / Social Commerce:
Impact on On-line Commerce can be measured by the amount of referral traffic a Network brings. As can be seen in the graphic below Pinterest referral traffic has increased significantly within a month. Amount of referral traffic Pinterest brings is more than Twitter and Google plus. Given the size of Pinterest this is really significant. This can explain why on-line commerce world is eager to have their presence felt on Pinterest.
In order to capitalize on this trend, on-line businesses are now focusing on having high quality and artistic product images on their sites. This is one of the many ways how On-line businesses are leveraging the Social networks generate more leads and better sales.

References & Further Reading:
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1 Comment To ' Social Networks Going Visual '

MyGrahak said...

Social Media is the new mantra for marketers. Everyone seems to be running after it. But hardly a handful knows how to get the optimum result out of a social media campaign. Though it may sound easy to use platforms like FB, Twitter and other social sites for promotion and brand building, in real terms this needs a deep understanding. Just posting isn't enough. It has to be marketed well. I think this is where the concept in integrated social media campaign might also come in. Please share your views on the same.

Divya Bhaskar

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