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Opinion

What is Amazon Spark? Jeff Bezos’ new social inspiration

This is the first of two articles on Amazon Spark. Come back tomorrow for part two. 

If you’re looking for a social network that’s a hybrid of Instagram, Polyvore and Pinterest you are in luck! It turns out that briefly becoming the richest man in the world has given Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos a newfound desire to expand on his disruptive retail innovation efforts. And this time he’s getting social.

In July 2017, Amazon announced that they will be launching a social network called Spark, where users can review products and communicate with other customers.

Think of it as what Facebook is for content, but instead of reading every minute detail of your aunt’s cruise ship holiday, you will be scrolling through posts by shoppers with similar buying habits to yourself. A social media platform for shopping addicts. Inspired yet?

As a consumer it’s basically an Amazon shopping feed with beautiful photos. I can see the value in the funnel its roll out hopes to contribute.

It is clear Amazon have seen the power that influencers have over shoppers with the likes of Instagram, Pinterest and Polyvore and wants a piece of that action in their own network. Can’t blame them!

But will it take off, or will it be the latest Google+, a lame, sad expensive social failure? (See below for my thoughts on Google+.)

A question of necessity?

Amazon’s recommendation algorithm is already incredibly intelligent, which raises the question of the necessity of Amazon Spark.

Their recommendation algorithm is on par with Netflix, they have really set the benchmark for personalisation and customer profiling. How? Like Netflix, they’ve invested in understanding data.

Their recommendation algorithm applies data science and machine learning to develop a preference profile that’s nothing short of the benchmark for all growth focused retailers.

At a high level the algorithm is taking into consideration: a user’s purchase history, products they have liked/rated, items currently in their shopping cart/wishlist and what other customers have purchased. As a result, they can churn out a series of highly personalised recommendations in a matter of seconds.

The beautiful thing about Amazon Spark is that it will give bloggers an opportunity to make some coin off each Amazon sale referred by their Spark account. It’s the latest move by affiliate marketers to capture the growing plethora of bloggers.

We’ve seen Referboard tap the market here in Australia successfully. You don’t have to be an Amazon seller to sign up. It’s genuine referral shopping and anyone can join.

Conclusion so far

If you’re planning on advertising through Amazon and have influencer marketing in your strategy, have a chat with your talent and see if they’re keen to be a part of it with you.

If you don’t have influencer marketing in your strategy which you should, start there and pitch the idea of working with them and Amazon Spark.

Keen to see what I get up to on Google+. You can follow me here. You’ll probably find a bunch of information about me from two years ago. To be honest, the only time I cared about using the network was when it had “Authorship”. Then Google canned that idea. I wonder what we’ll see happen with Google+ products over the next few years.

Alita Harvey-Rodriguez is a leading Australian Digital Marketing Futurist and the brains behind Milk it Academy.

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