We're always saying that marketers should be mindful about changes in people's behavior and the way they interact with media. What's hot today might be obsolete or morph into something else in a matter of weeks.
Sometimes having accounts with so many sites can confuse us or become overwhelming. Necessity, as always, is the mother of invention: One trend that's gaining speed rapidly are aggregators. Pulling in content from a variety of different sites, they began as a way to better organize your own personal content: Think the Mac's Dashboard, Netvibes, Pageflakes or iGoogle.
But what about our outward facing lives? There are now more social networking sites than we know what to do with. Luckily, aggregators for this content are taking a variety of forms. We may have noticed it first with Facebook, as they updated users through a Mini-Feed logging friends' activity on other social networking sites. At around the same time, we at Naked New York brought an aggregator into our site, houseofnaked.com, compiling all of our activity across other sites, giving readers a sixth sense about our lives outside of the office. Two of the most exciting aggregators of this kind today are Flock and Spokeo.
Flock is a "social Web browser" that organizes and interacts with various Web 2.0 sites. In addition to letting one blog and read RSS feeds with a few short clicks, Flock helps manage other feeds via a sidebar for keeping track of updates on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and others. Based on Mozilla Firefox, Flock also gives many an easy transition into the browser by transferring browser bookmarks and settings from their Firefox browsers.
A site designed to help you keep track of your friends' lives, Spokeo finds all of your friends' activity on other social networking sites and aggregates them into one place. By sifting through your e-mail account's contact book, it pulls all content published under your sites registered with your friends' e-mail addresses, and updates you on their activity across dozens of sites. You can instantly have access to Amazon wish lists, Flickr photos, Yelp user reviews and StumbleUpon profiles of almost everybody you have ever e-mailed.
What does this mean for marketers? Aggregators change the way we view content. Think about an ad placement on yelp.com or gothamist.com: If someone reads his friend's Yelp reviews on Spokeo or through Flock, for example, they won't see the ad. A similar thing happened when TiVo launched: While consumers were given the opportunity to control their experience (including skipping commercials entirely), marketers were faced with a choice. They could see it as an opportunity to creatively evolve with the technology, or they could continue to waste their money by not taking consumers' behavior changes seriously. Aggregators are definitely not the end of the world for marketers, but we better pay attention.
Written by Johanna Beyenbach, associate strategist, and, as always, curated by Paul Woolmington, Naked Communications. (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com)