I was asked to contribute my thoughts to MEC’s global 2010 – 2011 Preview Review, specifically to give my point of view on what the story of social was in 2010 and what it will be in 2011.
The story of 2010
2010 was the year that mobiles began to rival PCs as the hub of social activity.
For the past ten years, we’ve been hearing that each year was going to be the year of the mobile. Driven by factors like PC quality handsets, cheaper mobile data packages, faster connections and better mobile websites and applications, 2010 was the year this actually happened. 3G usage was up 34% globally and many users in emerging markets chose to bypass the PC / laptop altogether and go straight to using their mobile as their primary internet access point.
Social behaviours such as liking, friending and tweeting were well established on PCs and laptops. However, growth in mobile usage meant that people wanted to be able to replicate these behaviours on their mobile phones. In 2010, over 30% of Facebook’s users primarily used their mobile to access the platform, with other social platforms like LinkedIn, QQ and Twitter quickly developing proprietary apps to take advantage of increased mobile usage of their platforms.
2010 was the year that mobile driven location-based services exploded into the social space with brands like Gap taking advantage of Facebook Places to promote in-store sales and give away over 10,00 pairs of free jeans. We learned that people will quickly adopt new social behaviours if there’s a value for them, with the term ‘checking-in’ meaning more than having a night in a hotel.
What are my thoughts for 2011?
In 2011, we’ll see the integration between real-world and digital pick up even more speed as more people harness the social potential of their mobile handsets. Social platforms like Foursquare, vKontakte, QQ and Youku will deliver even more powerful mobile services that are focused not only on acquiring new users, but adding new features to retain existing users and overcome any platform fatigue that may have set in.
What are your thoughts for 2011?