bubblemotion Tom and the state of Asian social networks (Mobile First)

Just saw this today:

Why the Largest Social Network in 2015 Won’t be Facebook, and Will Be From Asia

Thomas starts off with some pretty bold predictions:

The time has come: Facebook is falling from grace. It appears that although people used to love flooding their friends’ newsfeeds with pictures and information displaying their every move and emotion, these people have now moved on. It’s no longer cool to upload hundreds of photos from your most recent vacation, which can be overwhelming for friends as well as for the uploaders themselves (uploading, adding captions, and tagging your photos can be a huge time commitment). Today, less is more. Keeping social sharing simple and instant is the secret to integrating into people’s lives and mobile devices.

On some level I tend to agree and have felt this way for a while but so far I can’t tell if it is really happening. Facebook just has so many peeps on it, the advertising is getting better and it seems to be a force to drive traffic and installs. The other thing I notice is I see people using say Line or Path but still using Facebook. When it comes to photos and sharing – Facebook seems king. When it comes to games and chat and commerce – something like Line seems to be doing better.

I have talked about this subject from a different angle on this post – I also cover some of my feelings around Whatsapp :: http://www.nokpis.com/2013/03/20/what-the-hell-happened-to-yahoo-messenger/

The thing I am wondering with the rise of the Asian social/chat networks is will they take hold in Europe and/or America? Emerging markets seem like a no brainer for products like Line but will it happening in America? I am doubtful. Can it happen in Europe – this article touches on that :: http://www.forbes.com/sites/terokuittinen/2013/04/12/interview-with-the-ceo-of-line-usa-challenging-whatsapp-aggressively-in-its-core-markets/

Perhaps the most interesting insight from Ms. Han is that the early success and high market share of WhatsApp does not present an insurmountable hurdle for rival services. Quite the opposite:  now that consumers are used to a streamlined messaging app, they have started hungering for a richer experience with more features. This clearly was the case in Spain – but will it work in all major markets? Might Spanish and Asian consumers have a special affinity to stickers and games that may not apply to the US market or Northern Europe? And how will the resurgent KakaoTalk with its impressive gaming system complicate LINE’s world conquest?

Just 12 months ago, the messaging app market seemed to be consolidating around WhatsApp, much like the social network market once did aroundFacebook. But in April 2013, the situation suddenly seems more complex; the Spanish shock could be a sign of glorious turmoil to come in the messaging space.

Thomas makes some valid points but somehow I just don’t think it will be easy and if Facebook learns and evolves – I think there lead is big enough to hold on to.

Asian social messaging services get what users today are looking for out of social sharing: simplicity and fun. Facebook should start looking East for inspiration on how to up the ante and regain engagement, before an Asian social network beats them to the punch and funnels away a large portion of their user base, primarily on mobile.

I think Facebook could start looking east fast enough to make the difference but the model is changing and apps like Line are shaking it up. The question is can Whatsapp hold on to their lead?

fun times.

nice work Thomas!

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