Buckets and buckets of posts have been written about the impact of mobile platforms and social networks on marketing and small businesses. One fledgling area that is bound to explode, however, is the ability to let your users create the content you’re selling – on the fly.
In order for the marketing aspect of these apps to be successful, the apps must be used. Repeatedly. The best games (e.g. Bejeweled) have a strangely
compuls addictive quality that brings people back. Utility apps like PocketMoney (a check register that I use and love) rely on a user’s own dedication to achievable goals. But what, beyond the novelty factor, will motivate you to keep checking in on location-based social networks?
Enter foursquare – a multi-platform social network that encourages you to check in via GPS in order to unlock badges and “claim” territory. Social networks are already addictive but tempered by the effort required to load an app to register each of your arrivals throughout the day. By introducing a competitive gaming quality to the service, foursquare captures a significant involvement and return rate – i.e. ad exposure. The marketers, meanwhile, need only negotiate with foursquare for deals and promotions. It is the users, through the framework of the app/service, who will work to earn the “coupons” and inspire friends and coworkers to join and do the same. (Read more about foursquare’s unique advertising model at Mashable.com)
- According to figures published by Linden Lab, about 64,000 users made a profit in Second Life in February 2009… (Wikipedia)
- …in 2008 consultancy firms Rivers Run Red and Electric Sheep have reported annual revenues of $6 million [from Second Life]. (Wikipedia)
- The virtual world of Second Life saw user to user transactions totalling $567 million in 2009 and this figure is expected to increase during 2010. (PR-USA.net)
…instead of waiting for the maps to update with the newest changes and developments on the road, the Waze users do it both actively and passively by just having the app open.
If you drive on a new road that has not been updated on the Waze map, and collect the “goodies” along the way, you receive even more points than a regular road, and rank higher on the global scoreboard. By competing in the contest, you enjoy an entertaining gaming experience, but more importantly, you contribute to the Waze community by helping to build the map, which is then used by other Wazers.
Revenues, according to CNET, will come from selling ads. In short, the consumer creates the product, a social gaming aspect keeps them coming back, and all the while the users are viewing advertisements. As smartphones become the standard and more and more of the population becomes connected to the internet, this marketing and business model could (will) explode. The possibilities are endless.
Can you think of other ways to make your consumers build the products you’ll be advertising on?