Events Bring Online Social Networking to a Higher Level

Posted: April 8, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Where is online social networking headed?

New Friendster Logo

In Southeast Asia, a battle-royal has unfolded between Facebook and Friendster, leaving Multiply out in the cold. Friendster, having lost a considerable active user base in the western world, has stood its ground in Asia, particularly Southeast Asia. The launch of the new Friendster branding has further strengthened its position towards the Asian Youth which it has held since its founding in 2002.

While Facebook has openly declared its fastest growing market is on the 35-year olds and up, and Friendster has actively maintained its 16-24 year old base, this probably leaves the 25-34 year old market up for grabs for the social networking giants in the region.

How do I see things moving in the next 2 years? Probably it’s going to be all about reaching out to and creating a loyal

Author with Charice and Friendster colleagues

base of users. Experiencing the brand shall be a key mid-to-long term strategy in the social networking site (SNS) equation in the region. In Asia, relationship is key to business.

In my work as the Business Developer of Friendster’s Philippine sales team, our team has introduced events and related activation drivers to do 2 things: bring in more revenue and build affinity (among users and advertisers alike). So far, this has given the extra push to defend our position. The Philippine Friendster users account for a big chunk of the site’s global base. Thus, all eyes are on what we do.

What people want, people get.

“Friendsters” have seen their site as a playground. It’s where they meet their friends and add new ones to their network. What better way to up this level than to do these things live! Thus, Friendster has capitalized on actively organizing events that approximate the online experience. It’s young and upwardly mobile user base love this idea. The first grand “eyeball” was a smash. This was followed by movie screenings, concerts and a bar tour. It’s simply bringing the site experience to a higher strata. The bonus: the extra revenues that these activities bring in.

Advertisers can now look at a whole new way of putting their money online. It’s simply beyond banner advertising. Their target customers can now be reached personally online and via events. Some have also used online ads to draw attendance to their events. This has been the case for concert promoters and even political rallies.

Coming full circle.

Pinoy Friendster Day 2009

This is how I see the use of events and related activation activities for Social Networking Sites. As events create an offline version of online sites, users begin to build more affinity and loyalty towards these sites and word-of-mouth does its work. More and more users translates into greater opportunities for revenue — and this is beyond advertising!

What advertisers should do now is to look deeper into their digital partners’ capabilities to make them understand how to better leverage their online media. I won’t be surprised if in the next 2 years, activation budgets will be channeled towards sites that create their own events. This way, advertisers get better exposure with both online and offline sponsorships.

Beyond the banner? Defintely!

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