Ning Ramps Up Network Engagement With Likes, New Themes, And More

2010 was a transformative year for Ning, with the social network platform shuttering its freemium model in favor of all-paid services for network creators. The company rolled out the paid models, unveiled a number of new features for content creators, called Ning Everywhere, and saw an uptick in the number of paid subscribers. CEO Jason Rosenthal says that Ning finished the year with 80,000 paying subscribers, with new customer acquisition up 30 percent from a year ago. Today, Ning is launching a number of new features aimed towards increasing network engagement and interaction.

One of the most important additions to Ning networks is the newly launched Ning Engagement System, which provides creators with intelligence on member activity level, identifies loyalists, and gathers insights on popular content or activities on networks. Ning also allows creators to add a Ning “like” button that allows visitors to vote up popular content. And Ning now gives network creators the option to add Facebook’s Like button easily on their social networks, although the two types of Like buttons could be a little confusing for members.

Additionally, Ning is unveiling the Ning Design Studio, which includes new ways for creators to customize the look and feel of networks. The studio includes 80 different customization settings to change the design of networks, a theme gallery, new layouts, and a design marketplace which will eventually allow users to sell their designs to network creators.

Rosenthal says that the company is looking for ways to help creators make networks a primary social destination for their members. He adds that Ning will be making a mobile product announcement soon and will also be rolling out “transformative” monetization options at end of Q1.