So how do you monetise the social media trend? a questions which people will be asking themselves in light of the growing phenomenon and the convergence to web 2.0 technology. In my eyes the real question is “how do you monetise social media without putting users off?!” If people start to see social networking sites becoming more and more commercial they will very quickly jump ship. people use these sites to interact, not to be sold to and if pages begin to become plastered with ads this will make users move on to the next site which has become flavour of the week.
there is undoubted potential held in the targetting options availale through social networking sites and I believe this is the tool which will bring success if used correctly. Noone minds seeing ads if they are relating to something they are looking for at that point in time. Think about it, the ability to show and ad for gifts when you konw it is someones partners brithday in the coming weeks, or an ad for a dating site around valentines day only shown to single people who arent in a relationship. This is where the real strength lies in my eyes and if it can be harnest then the money will follow.
Social Network Ad Scramble
APRIL 19, 2007
With fierce competition, sites explore new ad models
Social networking buzz belies an impending sector shakeout, according to In-Stat’s “Social Networking: Finding Friends Online” report.
“In order for a social networking site to be successful, it must attain a critical mass, and competition is fierce to attract new members,” says Jill Meyers of In-Stat. “So far, sites have focused their attention on a younger demographic, which is finite, fickle and limited in expendable income.” Ms. Meyers says Baby Boomers are frequently overlooked when it comes to social networks.
MySpace’s demographics include plenty of wage earners at this point, and Boomers have social networks like Eons.com, but the In-Stat report raises an important question: How can social networks best monetize their memberships? eMarketer estimates that 2007 ad spending on MySpace will outstrip spending on all other social networks combined, so competition will be fierce.
One possibility is selling user data, according to In-Stat.
“Each social networking site collects a plethora of personal and demographic data on each member,” said Ms. Meyers, “and while selling these data to target marketing groups may be unappealing to site members, it may be the best route to profitability for site operators.”
Some social networks are still having trouble just getting their sites to grow. comScore Media Metrix data reveals a range of visitor growth of anywhere from 1177% (Sconex.com) to -40% (LiveJournal.com).
Even Microsoft is offering advice on how to increase social networking ad revenue. The Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions Group commissioned a Metrix Lab study of how social networkers use the sites. The study concluded that creating brand profiles (spaces) that can be forwarded to friends is effective, with a quarter of social networkers posting views on specific ads and a third forwarding spaces, ads or links.
eMarketer senior analyst Debra Aho Williamson says that the time for branded profiles is probably coming to a close.
“The notion of creating a MySpace ad profile page and collecting friends was popular in 2006 but will likely give way this year, as users tire of collecting ‘friends,'” says Ms. Williamson.
Third-party companies are also developing sophisticated modeling software to parse the things people write on their profiles and match ads accordingly.
However, there is a risk that innovative ad models like these will get shelved in order to give advertisers something they’re already comfortable with. MySpace sells “roadblocks” on its home page and even uses old-media speak to explain why advertisers like being there: “Marketers are really interested in the one-day cume they can get from the home page of MySpace,” Fox Interactive Media told eMarketer last year.
While such things will generate revenue, they fall short of the promise of the “one-to-one-to-many” nature of social networking.
For an in-depth look at social network ad spending, eMarketer Total Access subscribers can read the Social Network Marketing: Ad Spending Update report. If you would like information on subscribing, click here.