5 Mins

How to build truly engaging Social+ products

Article banner - engaged users of a social platform
Article banner - engaged users of a social platform

In our previous article, we talked about the “what” - what is social+ and why it’s powering so many successful products. In this post, we’ll discuss the “how” - how to encourage users to interact with your product and with each other to reap the rewards of social+. We’ll also outline the limitations and challenges associated with building your own user models to achieve social+ success and what you can do to overcome them.

There’s little doubt that social+ has the ability to transform each user’s experience from a transactional one-off to becoming part of a meaningful community which keeps them coming back to your product. But there are some serious obstacles in the way of making this happen. So let’s start with what you’re up against.

The TikTokization effect

Our previous post touched on the undeniable power of the attention economy. In this landscape, personalization - delivering a highly relevant experience across all touch points - is vital for driving everything from user acquisition to retention to monetization.

One app is successfully delivering that all-important relevant engagement and setting up and meeting user expectations. As a result, it’s eating everyone’s lunch. You’ve probably heard of it…  

The stratospheric success of TikTok is bad news for other social+ platforms. Why? Because users only have a finite amount of time, so the more they spend on TikTok, the less they have to spend on your product. Winning the attention economy battle is certainly paying off for TikTok. Valued at $50 billion in 2020 and having generated an estimated $4.6 billion in revenue in 2021, it is now the most valuable startup of all time.

Wiping the floor

Even the tech giant Google isn’t immune to the TikTokization effect. The company’s senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan recently shared that Google’s research revealed that almost 40% of young people looking for a place to go for lunch don’t turn to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram instead.

It’s not just Google Search. As Superlinked’s co-founder Daniel Svonava recently commented in his podcast, “TikTok is wiping the floor with YouTube.” So, how does Tiktok outperform Google and so many others in the attention economy stakes? As Daniel goes on to discuss in the podcast, it achieves this by anticipating the exact content a user wants to see. Before they know they want to see it. He highlights the big difference with TikTok - content discoverability which makes the user experience highly relevant and specific to that individual.  

40 minutes 

Here’s a question: how well do you think you would know someone after spending only 40 minutes with them? 

The answer? Not as well as TikTok. 

That’s because, after just one 40-minute session, TikTok knows you better than most people. And it achieves this on the basis of just a few interactions. Even though it only collects your name and email, it’s able to analyze your interactions within the platform in real-time to provide a truly personalized experience. From the first user session, the platform figures out what the user wants to see and delivers exactly that.  It is because of this power TikTok is estimated to generate revenues of $12 billion by the end of 2022. 

The personalization challenge

So, how can you learn from TikTok’s highly successful approach and serve your users with content that fits perfectly with their interests and goals? After all, users who experienced AI-powered recommendations expect you to provide them with highly personalized content and relevant users to engage with, right from the very first interaction. To achieve this, you need scalable user models which not only ingest user data and their interactions with your product, but also update in real-time. It is possible to build them. That’s what TikTok and Facebook did. But it’s not easy, for four key reasons: 

  1. You need a lot of data

  2. You need a cutting-edge technology stack

  3. You need to hire the right talent to develop, test and iterate the models

  4. And last but definitely not least, there’s the risk factor… You could do all of the above, but because of the uncertainty in building Machine Learning models, you could fail to deliver a model that actually works.

Diagram explaining what it takes to build user models

What does it take to build user models?

You don't need to build it yourself to win with Social+

Instead of building your own user models and taking on the many associated risks and costs, you could use Superlinked’s API and user models to personalize every single touch point in your product with minimal effort.  

Relevance right from the first session: Superlinked enables users to bring in their data from other social platforms to deliver relevance to your users from the first interaction.

Learn about your users with less effort: Superlinked’s client-specific models learn about your users and how they interact with your product - e.g., click, share, like content, or follow other users.

Easily integrated: Superlinked’s APIs are easy to integrate into your product within days.

What results can you expect? 

Winning with social+ through Superlinked is all about the results that truly personalized products can achieve:

  • If you want users to engage with your content, you’ll see 40-60% higher clickthrough rates on relevant articles.

  • If you encourage user-to-user interactions, you can enjoy 2x more users actually creating connections.

  • If you have a feed, you can expect to an increase in the time users spend in the app, thanks to much more relevant content.

  • If you let users post their content, you’ll benefit from higher creator retention by delivering their content to relevant users who drive the engagement and the feedback the creators crave.

You can expect to double connections, increase the time users spend in the app and the creator retention.

What results can you expect from personalization?

The takeaway

Social+ is big and only getting bigger, but the attention economy is highly competitive. That’s before you even consider the TikTokization effect, which is impacting even the biggest players like Google. You could build your own user models to create a truly engaging social+ product but doing so is time-consuming, costly and risky. The good news is that it is possible to make your platform highly relevant at every touch point by using Superlinked’s social infrastructure. This gives you measurable results such as double the scroll depth, much higher clickthrough rates and user connections, and triple creator retention. Learn more about how Superlinked works here.

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