MoSoSo & SNS, the future driver of the mobile internet?

There was a recent news from Comscore about how Mobile Social Software (MoSoSo) and Social Networking Services (SNS) drive the development of the mobile internet in Europe.

I also agree on the impact of mobile SNS as driver for the mobile internet. Therefore I want to share some of my thoughts and experiences about mobile SNS available in more mature markets like Japan.

Mobile Game Town - MOBAGE LogoLets have a quick look at two of the most successful mobile SNS platforms in Japan, Mixi and MobileGameTown (MoBaGe).

Mixi is (still) Japans most popular SNS service with around 15 million registered users, a quite impressive number achieved in less than 4 years.

Mixi started as a PC based SNS service and later also introduced a mobile version. The company for a long time put its main focus on the PC based site and mobile mixi was more considered an add-on or a quick access tool. But this changed quickly, as on average around 30% of mixis access came through the mobile phone. So mixi started to extend its mobile service adding more and more functions for mobile users.

Now mobile became the main platform of mixi: Over 55% of the access to the site is mobile access.

Other SNS companies even ignored the PC and started their service right on the mobile phone:

MobileGameTown (MoBaGe) by DeNA combines casual mobile games, avatars, and SNS services. Users can play free casual games create their own avatar, set up a virtual apartment, watch videos, write blogs and meet others in online communities. The platform also has its own virtual currency called Moba Gold.

Just within less than 6 month of the launch registrations surpassed 6.5 million and they are now at over 10.5 million and still growing. And different from Mixi, MoBaGe is only available on the mobile phone!

And despite this, it looks like it will overtake mixi in the long run because the whole service is tailored around the needs of mobile users and not just the mobile extension of a PC based service.

So even in Japan, the mobile SNS boom is still growing after over 4 years. Here people seem more apt to engage in social network services through their mobile phone than through their PC. And it makes sense because for many people around the globe their mobile phone is and extension of their social self.

I deeply believe SNS are drivers for the mobile internet. And this makes sense because -as I have already mentioned elsewhere- the mobile phones DNA is “social”. Very different from the PC which was not initially built for social interaction but for processing data

The mobile phone was built as a social device. Its main purpose was to to keep in touch, to connect, to communicate, Many functions of modern SNS have been core functions of the mobile phone for a long time so it is just natural to turn this device from a social hub into a mobile internet social network hub.

About Marco Koeder

Marco Koeder is the Executive Director of CyberMedia K.K., one of Japans leading mobile and web communication agencies. Part of his daily business is to develop and manage digital strategies for global brands in the Japanese market and beyond. Especially in the interactive and mobile field he spearheaded the global digital strategies of brands like Lufthansa, Renault, Volvo, Nikon and others. Being a digital expert and advisor who knows how to “walk the talk”, Marco published a wide range of reports and articles about Japans mobile and online industry and is frequently holding speeches and seminars on the future of mobile and digital communication for Japanese and international executives. He just finished writing a book about” The Six Immutable Laws of Mobile: A Manual for the Future Success of the Global Mobile Industry”, to be published by Wiley in mid 2009. Marco is also an independent advisor to several global companies in the telecommunication and digital content business.

One thought on “MoSoSo & SNS, the future driver of the mobile internet?

  1. I totally agree with Mark´s view. It is very obvious that the mobile will shortly rule over the PC as social network tool. It´s anytime – anywhere. It does not depend on availability of broadband access (once the Netcos have rolled out their brodaband data services) and Mark is right in saying that the DNA of a mobile is plain social. As an early user of the Iphone my own experience definetly underlines Mark´s view: I access my facebook account about 95% via my iPhone and only 5% via PC. So what´s needed to have everybody connected via SNS on the mobile? First of all fun & easy to use applications (the facebook app is one of those – allthough it could also be even more simple to use). Secondly affordably hardware for the mass market. The iPhone is certainly not a mass market tool in the classical sense (to expensive if not bought together with a 24 month contract and very high voice/data prices) – allthough penetration within the age group 14+ is growing strongly. Thirdly: affordable access prices, such as the simyo 24 cent/MB pay-as-you go tarif or the 9,90 / Gigabyte internet package. Last not least decent network coverage with min. EDGE transfer speed will drive usage. So – alltogether I also believe that SNS will be one of the key drivers for mobile internet usage. It will be intersting to see what innovative Software and Services will be presented at MWC!

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