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Web 3.0: The Mixing of Mobile Commerce & Social Media?

2009 August 29
Mobile Commerce and Social Media merging?

Mobile Commerce and Social Media merging?

Increasingly, I’m seeing Web 3.0 (aka the “Next Big Thing”) as the collision of two mega-trends. Mobile commerce and social media are intertwining and are becoming indistinguishable. Or, at least, it’s hard at times to tell where mobile commerce ends and social media begins.

Facebook, for example, is the killer mobile application. As of April, there have been nearly 7 million downloads of the Facebook Mobile iPhone application representing more than 25% of the iPhone and iPod Touch market. Personally, I use Facebook more on my mobile phone than on my computer (despite the lame user interface).

Is Facebook on a mobile phone mobile commerce or social media?

Facebook Mobile is definitely social media and it’s definitely mobile. Facebook is hardly alone in not figuring out the commerce part in mobile.

Interestingly, the public sector seems to get it. Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time talking to Universities about mobile commerce. Universities understand that their alumni, fans, and of course, their students all use both mobile phones and social media. After all, Facebook started out as a student-only application.

All university outreach, from recruiting to fund raising to athletics, involves relationships. Social media and mobile commerce technology fit perfectly with university goals to build lifelong relationships.

Universities embracing social media on a mobile phone allows them a very intimate, always-there, reminder to the user of their relationship and how the university has affected their life. Social media also lets users share university info with classmates and friends.

Universities can monetize this through their annual fund raising and recruiting efforts. For example, users can challenge classmates in their social network to donate. Both Vanderbilt and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill already have basic mobile sites.

Look for social media and mobile commerce to more directly support university advancement in the future.

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. Mark L permalink
    September 3, 2009

    how are you finding the new facebook iphone interface? the question i am struggling with regarding my mobile site is how to use social bookmarking on mobile… linking to twitter/facebook (etc) WAP sites takes the user out of their “iphone app” comfort zone. Wouldn’t it be better to use social bookmarks which feed directly into the relevant app? We built a WAP site rather than an app because we wanted to keep it as accessible as possible, but is a WAP site what the market wants?? 65% of our traffic comes from iphone, so surely we have to cater for those users primarily??

  2. September 3, 2009

    That’s the big question everyone struggles with. iPhone users account for 60% or more of the users of most apps. Plus, iPhone usage continues to grow in proportion to other devices, so that percentage is likely to go up. My current opinion is that it’s a business decision.

    You roughly cover 2/3 of the market with your iPhone app. Make it as good as it can possibly be — this means a native iPhone app in most cases. Then figure out how it makes the most business sense to support your other customers. Mobile web? SMS? Android app? It all depends on the features and your customers.

    I find the new Facebook application a significant improvement. The previous Facebook app simply didn’t work sometimes. I also found it difficult to remember how to use. So far, I find the new app more usable.

    The APIs provided by Facebook, Twitter and others are also very interesting. I think there are a lot of revenue generating possibilities in letting users share information from within applications to their friends on Twitter and Facebook. (“Hey, I just got 40% off shopping at MobileStore.mobi. You can too in the next 10 minutes. Click here”). Hopefully, someone will come up with a more elegant example than that :-)

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