Parents worried that their teenagers are getting sucked in to MySpace can now relax – MySpace has been declared “unhip” by teens in a Washington Post article. This was inevitable, as this fickle audience moves on to something more exciting. But it raises two important questions for parents and advertisers:
1. Given that parents must worry about something, where are their teens going now?
It looks like Facebook is picking up a lot of teens. This makes sense as they are maturing, going to college, and Facebook has traditionally been more college-friendly (and Facebook also has minimally more protection to ensure a user’s identity.) But even so, there are other sites filling the gap. Too early to see which ones will succeed, though. By definition, if a 40-something like me could see it, you know it would be wrong!
Some movers, accoring to the Wahington Post article:
Going out: MySpace.com, Xanga.com, Friendster.com
Coming in: Facebook.com, Snapvine.com, PLyrics.com, Picgames.com
2. Will MySpace still become a valuable advertising medium, and thus profitable for News Corp after spending $580m? Just because the early adopters (teens of 2005-2006) are moving on, MySpace is still allegedly signing up 300,000+ people per day. Will the late adopters and laggards, ironically, be more valuable than the teens? My estimate is yes.
Here’s why: much of Internet advertising is not relevant to a 15-year-old – they cannot get a credit card, they don’t need a mortgage, they probably won’t buy a new car. They might apply to a college and want to download a ringtone, and they’ll definitely see movies. But there are entire sectors of advertising they ignore. This is why MySpace to date has not been profitable – it has not yet hit on the advertising which their users value.
Once Moms and Dads, grandparents, boring professional adults, etc. start using MySpace, the advertising value should rise. It will be hip to be square. Or at least profitable.