Monday, September 15, 2008

140 million Mobile Social Networking users

Abi research predicts 140 Million Mobile social networking Users by 2013. Web has already played a bigger role in bringing the best out of social networking. I’m not sure if there is enough room for additional Mobile Social networking platforms. Assuming a user is already part of social networking on the web, the chances of user signing in to another social networking platform purely because of mobile is slim. I still feel micro mobile social networking based on location, music etc will find some niche. In addition, what is required is a unified social network hub that can connect multiple platforms and allow seamless messaging and multimedia exchange.

The recent announcement of ATT and Verizon’s social networking application validates the point that Mobile social networking is indeed gaining momentum. Off course you can argue that these apps are just providing an interface to the existing social networking platforms. I still see a lot of potential in these kind of applications.

Some snippet from the ABI research news:

“Subscriber numbers for mobile social networking will climb at a relatively modest rate for the next three or four years, but will then start to accelerate sharply,” says research director Michael Wolf. “That uptick is based on assumed acceptance levels in the giant emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Those countries are wildcards, very difficult to estimate, so we are quite conservative in our forecasts.”

Some of these social mobile apps bring in lot of value in terms of adding more content and messaging. With adoption of mobile skyrocketing everywhere in the world, it makes perfect sense to add social aspect to mobile. These apps will surely turn into a cash cow for the operators. As I said earlier, it has great potential to increase the data and SMS/MMS usage, which in turn shall increase the ARPU for the operator. In addition, advertisement can play a huge role with these apps. A recent end-user survey conducted by ABI Research showed that mobile users of social networks are likely to consume two or three times as much digital mobile content (pictures, music, videos and games) than their “asocial” peers. That would suggest a golden marketing and advertising opportunity yet, says Wolf, that isn’t happening: “They are not offering the right kinds of products for these users. The advertising isn’t that sophisticated yet.

Additional reading:
Location based social networking has a huge potential
Mobile social app has a great future

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