With billions of web pages available to all of us, one might think that we would be constantly exploring new venues and avenues. And we are…to some extent. But we spend most of our digital time in a relatively small set of communities and websites that deliver content we value and enjoy.
Part of the reason why we are such creatures of habit, in my view, is that the discrete structure of websites discourages broader exploration. The goal of most websites is to keep us within their own walls, not foster cross site visitation. The creation of Facebook Connect helped many sites integrate social experience into their otherwise discrete environments, but it really only solved a small portion of the opportunity to help consumers experience more of the sorts of contnt and features that they enjoy.
A browser called Kikin is taking a decidedly more comprehensive view of the opportunity to help users experience the web on their terms. Their mission, they say, is to make the web more enjoyable and useful to people, and they try to achieve these auspicious goals by offering consumers more ways to connect to people, information sources, and content types that they care about. While they have gotten favorable press for all of their offerings, their iPad browser has been particularly well received.
Kikin’s foundation is a pinned icon structure that attached quick links to your favorite information sites and friends on the right site of the browser. As you consume web content, you can click the icon of a favorite site like Wikipedia or YouTube and get more information on the key topic of the page. The icons featured on your pinned icon bar are set by you. If you want to search on a term or subtopic of the page, you simply highlight the text and Kikin returns links to additional information.
You don’t necessarily leave the page your on to consume this additional content. It can appear in windows before the page you are on, to enable you to return to the original page at your leisure.
The application also makes it easy to save pages for later consumption, placing a list of saved sites a single click away.
By integrating Kikin with your connections on social media sites, you can get access to posts and updates related to the topic of your choice. This can be valuable because it enables you to connect with opinions and reviews from people you trust. At any time you can enable or disable individuals from the results you receive. You can also easily send the content of a web page to people in your social graph with just a click or two.
When you are shopping, Kikin can help you identify the best price on an item by querying multiple sites at once. That can dramatically simplify your shopping experience on high consideration items like travel.
Another very popular aspect of the service is a related videos feature that enables users to browse different videos related to a given topic WITHOUT venturing from one site to another. It’s a really pleasant and seamless experience.
Here's an intro vid:
How is this relevant to brands? Well, for pubs, the service says that its users tend to consume more pages because of access to related content on a site. When a pub partners with the site and drives downloads of the application, they receive additional information on users to help them refine and customize content experience. Advertisers can target consumers with high likelihood of interest in their products by featuring their ads on related content pages.
Beyond these direct benefits of partnering with the platform, marketers also need to see and prepare for the underlying trend – toward fully customized user experience. The “mass” approach to marketing has been losing relevance for years – offerings like Kikin reflect and eccelerate this ongoing decline. It is also reflecting a culture and a consumer that expects personalized experience at all times. This has broad implications on paid, earned and owned experiences we create. Quite simply, we need to be just as good at creating personalized experiences as pubs and soc nets. No easy task.