9/17/2008 12:54:00 PM
Mobile social networking brings new opportunities
Social networking on mobiles is really taking off. Of the UK’s 21 million mobile phone subscribers who also belong to a social network, a quarter used their phone every month to visit a social networking site in Q1 this year. Usage of MySpace Mobile is projected to hit three to five million unique global users per day by the end of the year.
MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe stated that ‘in a few years’ time we expect up to 50% of our traffic to be via mobile devices’. We are well on our way to reaching that: Vodafone recently revealed that social networks, including MySpace, make up three of the top 10 most-browsed sites on its mobile internet service. And where users go, advertisers follow, so it’s no surprise Gartner has predicted that the mobile advertising market will be worth $12bn by 2011.
Brands are taking advantage of the developments in social mobile by finding new ways to talk to their target consumers. As a new part of the marketing mix, it’s crucial that mobile internet activity fits within the overall programme for a brand.
Because we offer the full gambit of opportunities available on the desktop, it is possible for brands to mirror this activity on mobile. We’ve used these methods when working with high-profile clients to provide tailored information about the brands to consumers when they are using their mobiles.
The increasing number of subscribers accessing social networking sites from mobiles is a positive trend for network operators too. They are attracting users on flat-rate tariffs to make mobile browsing affordable. We would agree with CCS Insight’s analysis that ‘unlimited access stimulates greater usage of social networking sites’.
Having initially formed an exclusive agreement with Vodafone, MySpace has since expanded its relationships in the UK to include O2, T-Mobile and Orange.
Mobile manufacturers are also working hard to develop handsets that allow users to easily navigate the internet, driving user satisfaction as well as sales.
Apple’s iPhone has been particularly successful in this respect, with its easy-to-use interface creating significant demand; in fact, 42% of iPhone users currently access social networking sites via their mobiles. To help Apple offer a compelling experience on the handset, MySpace has developed a free mobile application for the iPhone, with key features like the ability to instantly upload photos from the iPhone to a MySpace profile.
We believe that opportunities will continue to emerge as a result of the combination of social networks and mobile. As CCS Insight points out, the increasing number of handsets with GPS technology will allow social networks to locate their users, potentially leading to new ways for users to find friends and interact with them.
We think that the industry needs to develop its offering to provide the mobile experience that our users demand.
Responding to MySpace’s 110 million global users, we’ve set ourselves the task of creating a seamless transition from desktop to mobile. Our users demand more from brands and we want to be able to interact with them when they’re on the move.
With this in mind, we have worked to develop a mobile platform that mirrors the way our users experience the social web on their home PC. Everything a consumer or a brand could want to do will be replicated and optimised for mobile, so users can still stay in touch and discover exciting new content on the move.
Bjorn Laurin is director of mobile business development, EU for FIM and MySpace.com