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Focused Social Networks Build Community

Narrow topical appeal draws highly engaged users

As MySpace and Facebook develop their sites for mass appeal, some social networks are banking on a focused approach. For example, Children with Diabetes is a Johnson & Johnson-owned ad-supported social network for families who have children with diabetes.

Nearly one-half of the site’s traffic comes from search, according to Joseph Natale, vice president at Children with Diabetes.

“We have 32,000 pages of content optimized with words like ‘children,’ ‘diabetes’ and ‘juvenile diabetes,’” Mr. Natale told eMarketer in an interview. “Our organic search is strong. That’s really helped us since more people are online seeking healthcare information and search is where they start.”

The approach makes sense, since many consumers head online for health information, according to a 2008 study by Prospectiv. Online communities were mentioned by only 5% of respondents, while 43% said they used sites focused on specific ailments. By forming an online community that focuses on a specific ailment, the site hopes to broaden its appeal—within its area of concentration.

Read more - eMarketer

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