Mobile social media is taking bigger and bigger place in lives of consumers. As reported recently by Nielsen, mobile social media accounts for more than one third of all social networking time in 2012. In the age group of 25-34 and 35-44 year olds, the amount of time on social networks now exceeds the time spent on a PC.
Wikipedia defines mobile social media as a mere combination of a mobile device and social media. However, this definition does not clarify whether mobile social media is just an adaptation of desktop version or it has unique features. According to professor Andreas Kaplan from ESCP Europe, mobile social media offers two types of information not available in any other medium: data on the consumer’s time and location. As mobile devices travel with their owners more frequently than PC their built-in GPS receivers track all changer in location.
The recent problem of all social media is monetization of mobile. Here and there we hear how one social media is effective in this question and the other is not. Smaller size of the screen on mobile devices does not allow to use images in ads in most cases, thus making mobile advertising low efficient. Under these circumstances, a reasonable solution can be found in exploiting unique opportunities of mobile social media. Here are some avenues that companies took to explore mobile social media.
Fixation of time and location allows to customize promotion in an unique way. For example, if a customer checks in a new town the first time, marketers can use this fact to show him an ad in which a standard promotion will be added with the information about things-to-do in this town.
Another way to use the information about location and time is to offer customized discounts. For example, a promotion of a restaurant can target consumers located near a restaurant with the ad offering a coupon for a lunch menu.
Also mobile social media allows users to create content specific to time and place. Foursquare application of the restaurant guide, Zagat offers users to make comments and publish pictures about restaurants and other places they visited. This content can be a way to increase awareness about brands and attract new customers as consumer trust more to information provided by other consumers than to ads.
Last but not the least important application of mobile social media is consumer engagement. New Jersey Nets increased consumer engagement by offering consumers to win tickets for the team’s game against the Charlotte Bobcat. In order to get tickets consumers had to check in at various sports-related locations such as bars, gyms, and equipment stores. This promotion allowed to increase the attendance of games despite the inconvenient schedule and the bad season for the team.
Based on these examples, we can conclude that mobile social media possesses unique opportunities not available in other types of advertising. Therefore, it should be included in arsenal of weapons applied by marketers and used as an element of promotion mix.
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