Idea: How Safari’s Shared Links Will Reward Content Your Customers Love
If you blinked, you may have missed it during the avalanche of announcements Apple made on Monday.
We’re talking about the few seconds Apple’s top software engineer demonstrated “Shared Links,” a feature on the next version of the Safari web browser due this fall. The feature provides a stream of links that are being shared by your connections on LinkedIn and the people you follow on Twitter. The links will be displayed as a sidebar on the desktop version of Safari and under a tab on the mobile version. (Apple’s website has a preview of the feature.)
Sounds so simple, you’re probably asking yourself, “Of all the new products and announcements made by Apple, why is this so important?” Well, it’s all about the links.
Apple is picking up where some earlier social browser attempts (Rockmelt, Flock) failed. They were loved by early adopters, but didn’t catch on with the mainstream-user audience. Shared Links on Safari is the first out-of-the-box default feature on a browser with a large-installed user base (representing around 10% of the combined desktop-mobile browser traffic) that will demonstrate to non-technical users how social connections can be used to discover content tailored to their unique interests.
Sure, there are dozens of geeky ways to filter the flow of links, but nothing yet as straightforward as Shared Links for the non-technical users whose primary interaction with the web is via a browser.
And by focusing first on LinkedIn and Twitter relationships, Shared Links will provide the kind of simplicity most non-tech-obsessed people desire from technology. (Likewise, it won’t be taken seriously by the experts until it’s in the market for a while.)
Why is this important to savvy marketers?
Listen closely: The links flowing out onto the Safari browser will be filtered by the individuals and sources a person actively selects, not sources who pay their way onto a user’s content stream. This raises the bar on the value of a link to any website. Provide no new link-worthy content and you’ll receive no traffic. Quality content that appeals to content curators with lots of connections on LinkedIn and followers on Twitter will be the gold-standard that sets the value of such filtered streams of links.
It may scare some marketers who are used to buying or powering their way into the link stream of customers. However, those who have quality products and close relationships with their customers or clients will benefit when a broad base of users discover the benefits of limiting much of their content “consumption” to that which is deemed worthy for linking to by their web of social connections.
And while this feature may be limited to Safari, LinkedIn and Twitter today, we predict it will be baked into future versions of other browsers.
Bonus: On the Hammock.com Blog, we’ve posted Rex Hammock’s
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