Mobile is fast becoming the ultimate referral based media channel.
Applications for user generated content, social networking, connectivity, blogging and social media marketing and mobile media access — available to just about everyone — are speeding the process.
Applications like Twitter and Loopt are keeping personal networkers in remote contact while social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn aggregate mobile contacts and updates. With Ning, CollectiveX, KickApps and a host of social networking platforms for white labeling your very own network app, it doesn’t take a team of web monkeys to build your own social networking application. You can do build your own social networking site in a few hours. The same is true for managing blogs using apps like Typepad and Blogger. If you find professional web development WYSIWYG applications like Dreamweaver daunting, anyone who can point and click can download complete web templates from sites like Hypertemplates and easily update them with Adobe Contribute.
All of this media technology innovation puts more media control in the hands of the masses than ever before thought possible. Which means that media attention may soon be subject to competition from more independent channels. Channels like the guy next door, your friends, your mom. People that don’t need additional permission to contact you and people — according to Harris Interactive — whose referrals to products and services you trust 60 percent more of the time than the “expert” opinions.
It shouldn’t be long before advertisers catch on that Mom is better media placement than media networks. She may have a smaller reach, but her conversion rate is much greater. I’m surprised that all of Internet advertising was still below 10 percent of media spending in 2007. I am not surprised that Internet media (including mobile) was the only media channel with a significant increase in ad spending (15 percent over 2006, nearly all other channels were flat or down from the previous year). Mobile media is just 8 percent of online today but that’s pretty decent growth for a media that didn’t exist in the US a few short years ago.
The mobile media channel has distinct advantages that no other media does. What other media is as portable, by permission and personalized? The mobile media channel is assured of success for these reasons and more but it is really going to flourish with the adoption web based applications available for the masses.