Like Me? Follow Me.
A recent article in Mediaweek details the results of a survey by Neilsen Online Data which shows that the major instant messaging services have seen a decline in the average amount of time spent on the sites.
It seems as if there has been a change in the way people choose to spend their time online because whilst time spent instant messaging is declining, more time is being spent on social network sites like Facebook.
In the past year the average time spent on MSN has reduced by 19% whilst Facebook has increased by 9%. This change may well be down to the added-value applications now available on the social networking sites which effectively replace much of the value provided by the pure instant messengers. For example, Facebook recently launched its own integrated instant messenging service.
To interpret what all this means for the marketing community, Mediaweek called on the expertise of Alex Miller, head of Jam, the social media unit at I-Level. He gave the opinion that he did not think that there will be a mass migration of display ads from instant messaging to social networks.
This may be true but isn't it a bit simplistic? Surely it will drive some other changes or developments?
Display ads on the major instant messenging platforms are prohibitively expensive for many businesses whereas a presence on a social networking site such as Facebook can be developed quickly and at little cost. This change in the way internet users behave is opening up a whole new area where companies can market their goods and services.
The difference between the two is the type of investment needed to make them work for you: in the case of instant messaging it's purely down to the amount of money you're prepared to throw at it. With social networks it's not money but time that will yield results. Having a social network presence will do nothing for you unless you work at it and at building your contacts and providing advice.
At I-COM, We believe that the importance of social media will continue to grow, we believe that in time they could become even more important than the search engines as a tool for businesses to drive value from the web.
More of this in a future post.