Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Following Facebook’s relatively disappointing IPO it's worth remembering that globally social media and mobile drive travel sales

It’s that simple, forget PR stunts or the amount of friends your company has, our research (Eyefortravel Marketing Barometer) shows that half the travel industry sees social media providing them with real measured sales.  The same research shows that 27% see mobile growing as a sales channel.  At our recent shows the debate and interest has been around this sweet spot ….where mobile and social combine to give you a real time communication channel you can use to inspire and convert and so produce the cash rewards and market share that your hard pressed company needs. We will have fresh data in July and it will be great to see if this trend continues.

The trouble for Facebook is that unlike Google, who effectively forced us to advertise to build its huge revenues, Facebook delivers an awesome way to communicate for free with our customers and can’t really change that without damaging their core product.  Mobile Social networking which is Facebook’s fastest growing area makes it doubly hard to monetise.

Finally Facebook is not an awesome way for some of the world’s fastest growing and biggest markets.  Asia is a different world, Facebook and Google may be an effective way to communicate with your customers in The USA, Europe, India, Africa and South East Asia but they fall flat on their faces in the world’s fastest growing market - China and the regions 2 heavy weight markets of Korea and Japan; here you need to work with Mixi, Cyworld, Baidu, Renren, Sina, Weibo and others to make an effective social media campaign.  The region also has the highest and lowest 3G and smart phone penetration rates.  China will have a predicted 1 billion mobile web users but in Vietnam it is a different story. How you create and drive your social media and mobile channel in such different markets will be key to your market share and future success.

If you are interested in finding out more about opportunities for Social Media and Mobile in Asia, we have a show where Facebook, Renren and a whole heap of innovators will be debating the future of this fascinating trend in Hong Kong this November 20-21. http://events.eyefortravel.com/social-media-and-mobile-asia/index.php

By Tim Gunstone