The Social Networking Market Opportunity: Quantifying market reach, scale and monetization across the value chain, 2010-15

The online Social Networking market is emerging from an immature period of competitive dislocation to one of market maturity, in which clear user needs and platform value propositions have emerged, paving the way for incumbency, scalability and successful monetization.
Not just another ‘how to make money via social networking; report, ‘Monetizing Social Networking’ is a thorough examination of the totality of emerging value chains, quantifying commercial opportunities along the value chain. It examines these opportunities in the business / strategic context, whereby there will be a ‘few winners take all’ fall-out. The report will be of major significance to brand owners and marketers, but will also deliver a key business advice and data reference vehicle for all stakeholders in the value chain.
‘Monetizing Social Networking’ qualifies and quantifies the commercial opportunities that are available and will emerge in the near term in online social networking for brand owners, advertisers, content providers, apps developers, hardware and software providers, as well as the social networking platforms themselves and their user communities. The period between 2010–2012 represents the key near term strategic window in establishing incumbency in the social networking market, and the market is racing towards maturity by 2015.

Key features of this report

• Quantification of opportunities
• Segmentation of opportunities by geography
• Segmentation of opportunities by stakeholder type
• Segmentation of opportunities by user community demographics
• Full analysis of impact of social, technological, regulatory and business drivers
• Full coverage of Asian and European as well as US markets
• Profiles of 18 leading social networking stakeholders

Scope of this report

• Gain a unique quantified data platform of how online social network markets are gaining scale, and delivering direct and indirect revenue opportunities across the whole value chain
• Access uniquely comprehensive and robust data to permit business planning for global strategy, including forecasts to 2015
• Understand how the competitive environment is changing, and how networks themselves will remain in a difficult financial position, while opening up large revenue opportunities for others.
• Access detailed data and insight into the market globally with all major markets detailed. 20 leading markets representing 88% of global opportunity are separately profiled.

Key Market Issues

• There is apparent value in the scale and growth offered by online social networking, but platforms and other stakeholders need to establish how to successfully monetize this potential.
• There is a lack of clarity regarding the scale, category segmentation and geographic reach of the developing social networking market, making monetization strategy elusive.
• A strategic shakeout is required, in part due to the rise of Facebook, if many current providers are to survive – at the same time, Facebook risks overstretch, and other rising networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn face an unclear monetization path.
• Most stakeholders, especially brand owners and advertisers, will have to move in the period 2010-11 away from a non-quantified, hopeful social media presence and towards a planned, quantified, sophisticated social media strategy.

Key findings from this report

• The online social networking market is emerging from an immature period of competitive dislocation to one of market maturity, in which clear user needs and platform value propositions have emerged, paving the way for incumbency, scalability and successful monetization.
• Online social networks have attained mass – already being used by 971m unique users at the end of 2009.
• Online social networking is becoming a meaningful global phenomenon. The US and Western Europe will continue to be major markets, and will see very strong levels of absolute growth. These early adopter markets are, however, declining in terms of proportion of global users with Asia increasingly dominant.
• In the face of Facebook’s dominance, most networks are embracing a ‘double niche’ strategy – focusing upon clear customer segments and service categories. LinkedIn, for example, targets professionals aged 30-55, and offers professional and career networking services. Hi5 is becoming a specialist gaming network aimed at the 16-29 audience.

Key questions answered

1. What is the scale of the opportunity provided by social networking?
2. How will social networking usage grow in the period 2010-2015?
3. What are the competitive positions of major platforms?
4. Who are the main stakeholders, and what is their position in the value chain?
5. What is the market reach of the major platforms?
6. Are current business models sustainable?

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