Google has been assigned a patent which abstract says is: “[A] computer-implemented method for displaying advertisements to members of a network comprises identifying one or more communities of members, identifying one or more influencers in the one or more communities, and placing one or more advertisements at the profiles of one or more members in the identified one or more communities.” Google may be joining the rush to further monetize (and spy, as far as I’m concerned) on social network communities. Social media marketing is the latest boomlet in online advertising. Here’s an excerpt from the patent.Â Btw, I don’t see the word privacy mentioned in the patent application! [my bold]:
As the Internet has become increasingly popular, online social networks are becoming an important and pervasive mechanism for communication, entertainment, and professional and social networking. Members of a network implicitly associate or explicitly link themselves with one or more members within the network based on factors such as common interests. Interaction and signaling between members either directly or through other members cause the formation of communities of common interests within the online social network. The members of such communities are connected by one or more common interests.
Factors such as member interactions, content on member profiles, dynamically changing size of the community, and the like establish a hierarchy within a community where certain members are more popular than others and, consequently, wield enhanced influence over other members in the community.
The present inventors recognized that blanket advertising across the network tends not to be cost-efficient to advertisers, since the members of the network tend not to be interested in the products and services being advertised unless the advertisements are relevant to the members’ interest. Presenting to advertisers a community of members sharing a common interest provides advertisers with an opportunity to present products and services of interest to the members of the network, thereby maximizing the return on the investment made to advertising.
The present inventors also recognized that advertising to members of an online social network based solely on the content of their profile lacks targeted generation of advertisements. Members of a community may have content on their profile in addition to the common interest of the community, such as personal information, etc. Relying solely on the content of the profile of a member of a community decreases the specificity of advertisements to the community since the presence of additional information distorts the signal from the content related to the common interests.
In one implementation, a computer-implemented method for displaying advertisements to members of a network is described. The method includes identifying one or more communities within a network, wherein the community can include a plurality of members of the network, identifying one or more influencers in the one or more communities, and placing one or more advertisements at the profiles of one or more members in the one or more communities…
The systems and techniques described here may provide one or more of the following advantages. First, a system can identify communities of common interests within an online social network. This may allow advertisers to target the communities based on the common interest of the community, as opposed to the content of individual profiles. Second, a system can identify members who belong to overlapping communities as a result of more than one common interest. By blending advertisements relevant to the interests of each of the overlapping communities, advertisers may target the members common to these communities. Third, a system can identify the influencers from among the members of a community. This may provide advertisers with the option of targeting either all members in the community or advertising only on the profile of the influencer, thereby targeting the entire community.
In addition, the system encourages members of communities in online social networks to enrich the content on their profiles. The presence of high quality content relevant to shared interests on a member’s profile increases the popularity of the member in the community and improves a member’s chances of being an influencer. An influencer may receive financial incentives from advertisers in exchange for permission to display advertisements on the member’s profile.