In Social Media ReInvention Blog, I try to describe how individuals, companies, or entire industries can use social media and/or inbound marketing strategy to reinvent themselves. This post has a slight twist because it talks about a current social media company reinventing itself -- MySpace.
Remember MySpace? It wasn't long ago that it was battling for social media supremacy with Facebook. In the past few years, MySpace has encountered different challenges. It's new co-Presidents, Jason Hischborn and Mike Jones, have recently described their plans to change the company's direction and focus.
In this post, I've cited and summarized different sources explaining MySpace's reinvention plans. The firm's approach looks like it centers on:
* A renewed understanding of its core buyer persona
* Focusing on, winning back, and growing this buyer persona
* Objectives and metrics the company plans to use in measuring its progress
MySpace's Buyer Persona: Under-35-Year-Old Music and Game Lovers
David Meerman Scott defines the buyer persona as "a distinct group of potential customers, an archetypal person whom you want your marketing to reach." MySpace's core buyer persona can be described as:1
* Self-expressive and creative under-35-year-olds
* Individuals who love music, games, and movies
* 50%+ of its 100 million estimated users are 25 and younger (according to ComScore)
* Deeply engaged users: 13-to-34 year olds who spend 84% of their user time on the site
Giving The Buyer Persona What It Wants. MySpace's current and future business strategy is to secure exclusive entertainment content. For example, MySpace users focus their interests in video games (28%) and celebrity and entertainment content (23%).2 High profile celebrity pages will now include updates so the pages have more information and are easier for users to navigate.3 Co-President Jason Hirschorn describes the site as pop culture centric: "You could share your thoughts about the elections in Iraq but it might not be the place that you do that -- but you'll certainly talk about what went on in The Hurt Locker and what dress Sandra Bullock wore during the Academy Awards."4
Removing What The Buyer Persona Doesn't Want. In 2005, Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp. acquired MySpace for $580 million. This event also marked the decision by co-founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson to position MySpace as a large social portal to make itself more attractive to online advertisers.5 Why? According to DeWolfe in the August 2008 Fast Company article, "some 90% of online-advertising spending goes to big portals."
New co-Presidents Mike Jones and Mike Hirschborn acknowledge that adding portal-like features features having nothing to do with entertainment was a mistake. In the last nine months, they've removed sections devoted to weather reports, horoscopes, job boards, and classified advertising.6
Identifying and Attracting Influential Music Fans: Artist Dashboard
The music community (e.g., bands and fans) drove the original growth of MySpace. 13 million+ bands, from Pearl Jam to garage bands use MySpace to promote themselves. The site is especially important for new bands distributing their own music without a major record label's support. Paraphrasing Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora, "When it comes to music, MySpace has a monster audience."1
The Artist Dashboard. I find this new feature interesting and similar to the objective of LinkedIn Answers -- identifying and recognizing experts. The Artist Dashboard is designed to target music afficianados (and attract new ones). It's a variation of the visual dshboard found in the MySpace Music hub and will become available to all MySpace users. The dashboard will show a user's activity:4
* Who is reacting to what the user publishes (and where they are)
* A series of achievements and badges describing the user's network influence (i.e., most shared playlists or an early trend spotter)
Here's a picture of the dashboard from the Mashable article by Barb Dybwad:
Driving New Growth With Games: Consumers and Developers
At the March 2010 Game Developers Conference, co-President Mike Jones launched a new MySpace Games strategy to showcase online games on the site and attract more developers. Jones said during the conference: "Just as MySpace made a real commitment to music, to have the best content, we're now making the same type of commitment with games."7
Consumers. Helping users easily discover and share games virally is a key strategy. Game activity will be shared via users' notifications and streams. Personalized game recommendations, popular game charts, and the ability to rate games will all be key features.7
Developers. New features and improvements to attract game developers include:7
* Better application engagement and analytics tools to better understand player demographics, how games are discovered, and how they're shared
* App-specific analytics
* Ability to build 3D games
* A new iPhone app, called MySpace Neon, to provide mobile game playing via the iPhone
Tracking and Measuring Progress: Depends on Whether You're an Analyst or a MySpace Executive
Based on my review of the different news sources, the publicized metrics to track MySpace's reinvention progress varies between internet strategy analysts and MySpace's co-presidents:
Internet Strategy Analysts' Metrics. The internet strategy analysts discussed tracking metrics centering around revenue, numbers of members, numbers of visitors, and time on site. In each case, the analysts used Facebook as a comparator.
* Revenues. For 2010, eMarketer estimates $605 million in revenues for Facebook versus $385 million for MySpace (21% decrease).1
* Number of Members. Facebook has 400 million members versus MySpace with 100 million members.1
* Number of Monthly Visitors. Facebook had 111.8 million US visitors (95% increase); MySpace had 66.7 million visitors (5% decrease).6
* Time On Site. Facebook averaged 267 minutes per month; MySpace averaged 130 minutes per month.6
MySpace's Metrics. Jason Hirschborn and Mike Jones have publicly stated the following objectives they will be tracking:
* Revenues. Jones is quoted in the USA Today interview that "MySpace has been good at monetization, others notice that." He did not disclose revenue targets during the interview.1
* Growth in Numbers of Users: Hirschborn wants numbers of users to grow to 200 million or 300 million (from the current 100 million). He declined to provide a timeframe for achieving this objective.3
* Percentage of MySpace Members Playing Games. Jones says approximately one-third of MySpace members play games. Both he and Hirschborn have targeted 50% participation (perhaps as early as the end of this year).3,4
* Number of Monthly Minutes Spent Playing Games. MySpace members spend 1 billion minutes per month. The company wants to increase this monthly usage to 2 billion minutes.7
Photo Credit: From Flickr by jim6800
1 Once-fading MySpace focuses on youthful reincarnation by Jon Swartz. USA Today, March 10, 2010.
2 What social media users want [STATS] by Jennifer Van Grove. Mashable, March 18, 2010.
3 MySpace revamps for revival by Sarah Jacobsson. PCWorld, March 10, 2010.
4 MySpace co-presidents reveal company's plan for the future [INTERVIEW] by Barb Dybwad. Mashable, March 9, 2010.
5 MySpace, the sequel by Ellen McGirt. FastCompany.com, August 7, 2008.
6 MySpace looks to the past for its future by Dawn C. Chmielewski. Los Angeles Times, March 10, 2010.
7 MySpace turns to games to regain prominence by Benny Evangelista. SFGate.com, March 11, 2010.