Why mobile social networks are a unique and a powerful medium for advertisers ..


I have blogged about itsmy before and Antonio Vince Stabyl, a co-founder or itsmy.com was a great speaker at our recent forumoxford emerging technologies conference.

The base numbers for itsmy are very impressive.

To recap, from Vince’s presentation

1 Mio+ reg. mobile users

16 Million Mobile Internet Downloads

5,761,000 Items User Generated Pictures Videos etc.

4.5 Million Wap sites

500 Million Pages/monthtraffic

However, there is an interesting insight which I will present in this blog. I got it in my talks with Vince on the way to Oxford before the conference.

In retrospect, it is obvious .. but it is an important point worth thinking about ..

Although we are facing a new medium(in mobile), the money comes from the same advertisers.

Advertiers are most familiar with TV as a medium which they understand best

Advertisers are still new to the mobile medium. In fact, they are still new to forms of advertising like on YouTube which involve user generated content

However, UGC as a medium for advertising is very powerful because the alternative is a legal minefield(the equivalant of Google posting ads against videos from movies on YouTube – the revenue so availed may need to be shared with the video rights owner)

Even on YouTube, advertisements are best placed against user generated content assuming – permission has been obtained and the content is moderated.

These two factors make Mobile (especially mobile social networks) a very powerful phenomenon because – for most part, they are free but also the reputed ones are moderated.

Consequently, if the medium(mobile social network) is designed to

a) Capture content in return for a free service and

b) That content is moderated and also

c) Presented in the form of channels(which can be a simple collection of the best cars on the site etc)

Then it is very appealing to advertisers assuming the base criteria are also met(critical mass, reach, personalization)

These factors play out even more on mobile devices since Mobile content is driven at the point of inspiration and the mobile device lends itsllf well to the capture of user generated content.

The above makes mobile social networks a unique and a powerful medium for adverisers

Thoughts welcome


  1. Gareth says:

    Mobile social networks have the potential to generate allot more revenue. on the smaller screens you are forced to watch ads more often. twitter and Jaiku type services may be the begining of this trend.

  2. Patrick Lord says:

    I think that mobile social networks run the same risk of propagating copyright material as the standard PC-based animal we’re all used to, except in smaller quantities at present thanks to bandwidth issues (video streaming is blocked on many carriers for example and is very expensive too). Providing channels of user generated content is not the only way to target advertising. There is always location, context, and mobile search … for example I’m at Charing Cross station in London and I’m looking for friends nearby. The service could also serve up an ad for a cafe in the area alongside the search results. Mobile is just another channel, but it’s the eyes and ears of the internet right in your pocket because the mobile is one complex sensor in your pocket (location, wifi, bluetooth, IR, Camera, voice, text, ….) and this sensory information can be used to determine more precisely the context of the user in order to serve more targeted ads. And highly targeted ads (as part of a wider multi-channel advertising mix) are very powerful indeed.

  3. Patrick Lord says:

    And of course social networks, mobile or otherwise, have your profile details, your history of searches and other activities, and this social profiling is a gold mine for advertisers.