Monetizing Social Networks

Three or so months ago I said that Facebook made a mistake by charging $1 per pixel gift. (A pixel gift is where you send someone “flowers” or a “birthday cake” – an image that sits on their Facebook page.)

By not thinking it through, Facebook not only left the door open for Free Gifts (a third party app with crappy free graphics) but also missed out on valuable sponsored gift/advertising. My argument was: Have Lindt offer free boxes of pixel chocolates and allow people to send them as a “welcome to Facebook present”. How about an iPod branded with Apple logos or a BMW? Which progressive companies with social networking marketing campaigns would’ve jumped at the chance to enable their consumers to start a viral campaign on their behalf? (Plus it had the benefit of the company controlling the branded graphic.)

Seems like they finally caught on:

In the pay-for gift section, but FREE, a Wal-Mart Ghost. So, Facebook official gifts now has a revenue stream from sponsored products being virally distributed by it’s 40-odd million members.

Even so, more competition: there is now a candy shop application in Facebook. And yes, the first thing you see is Lindt Chocolate.

Spend your daily candy money to buy candies from our store. Then, give it to all your Facebook friends! Check out today’s goodies and pick out a few candies of interest! You get $5.00 everyday. But, whatever change you have goes away at night. So spend every penny! (that’s virtual currency, btw. LP)

facebook sweeties

Odd. My avatar SilkCharm stays (almost) cellulite free yet she’s in there scoffing pixel sweeties. *puzzled and vaguely jealous*

Compare having your customer doing peer to peer marketing for you to *drum roll* yet more advertising into mobile communities:

Cricinfo.comOpens in a new tab. which is th most comprehensive and leading site around cricket in the world has signed up with AdmobOpens in a new tab. to monetize its mobile site.
And its not only cricinfo which is looking at monetizing its mobile web presence AdMob served over 350 million ads in India alone across its network of over 2,000 mobile Web publishers.

It seems like more and more publishers would consider this route of monetization going ahead as the mobile subscriber numbers which are almost 5-6 times the internet userbase will continue to grow rapidly.

Which is more effective? The consumer finding your branded pixel products cool and sending them around to my friends on Facebook, to be discussed and laughed over and passed on yet again… OR… them turning a blind eye to yet another Ad? Hey – someone tell Arnotts to put in TimTams – I’ve got overseas friends I want to torture with what they are missing. 🙂

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

4 thoughts on “Monetizing Social Networks

  1. When are we going to see people sending each other REAL sweets through Facebook? All the current apps seem to be free, when is somebody going to charge?

  2. dahling, I’ve sent you an invite to the Amazon gift-buying-in-Facebook service. – I’ll have the cute teddy bear please. But that’s a different proposition – not social advertising but straight ecommerce. Well, maybe social ecommerce, but still… transactional not marketing.

  3. Oops, it’s “real” virtual gifts – virtual replicas of real world gifts for free. But I’m sure I saw an Amazon gift buying service in FB *puzzled*

  4. If only they could make the advertising gifts nicer and a little more subtle – pasting wall mart all over a gift does not make me want to pass it along – but a piece of vegemite toast to friends travelling overseas, well that’s another story…

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