I’m sitting at the front row of the Forrester Consumer Forum in Barcelona, this post will be cross published on the Marketing blog.
I’ve had a few minutes to visit with Jay before his presentation, he’s Vice President of Operations for MySpace Europe. He’s a long background in the internet industry, and shared with me his background in communications and the web.
Key nuggets from his presentation:
History of MySpace: Launched in Jan 2004, by Tom Anderson and Chris de Wolfe. Grown from roughly 1MM uniques throughout Europe to more than 24MM today. There are currently 175 employees in 10 European territories.
What’s a social network? Individual profiles, semi persistent public commentary on the profile, a traversable public articulated social network displayed in correlate to the profile. -From Dana Boyd
[Jay Stevens: “User told us that ‘I don’t want brands to advertise to me, I want them to be my friend”]
Why do people flock to social networks? A User’s profile may be seen as a metaphor to their room or apartment. The profile has become a user’s online persona. This “Digital Native” have grown up online, with cell phones, and tv. MySpace is their space. Globally, there are about 400 million social network users worldwide. 86% of UK 15-34 year olds are now on social networking sites. 4.3 Billions monthly UK page views on MySpace.
So how do you take advantage of these social networks? Build a network within a network. Create icons (content, images, logos) that will be dressing up users profiles. A few don’t matter as much, until thousands and then millions do this. An English tea brand called has 9500 friends in MySpace, they encouraged users to change their profile pictures to become a cute monkey icon.
[Why join a network rather than create your own? Leverage the power of an existing network, the larger the network the larger the power]
Why would anyone create a social network? There’s a momentum effect that transcribes to ‘never ending friending’
What about Facebook? There’s huge amount of cross over. MySpace is over 2X the size, and are still growing. The media gloms onto the ‘next big thing’.
What about Open Social? The promise for opening up certain elements of MySpace profiles makes sense. Widget’s can’t interfere with user experience, but there’s concerns about user data, and we have to be careful. (learn more about Open Social) Google has advertising on MySpace, and discusses hyper targeted, to learn more about Hyper Targeting, please read this primer.
Implications for Brands and Advertising