Frictionless Sharing May Give Brands More Ad Options
Frustration among Web users interested in listening to music from Spotify or reading articles on TMZ continues to grow. Many want access to the free content, but prefer not to automatically broadcast their activity across social sites like Facebook.
Earlier this year, Facebook finally cracked down on accidental sharing made possible through its Open Graph.
Now Michael Olson, Janrain product manager, believes company engineers created an alternative to support OpenID and allow users to have more control with sharing content. They built an opt-out timer into the process.
The user management platform -- which allows consumers to log in to a site with a third-party account, such as Facebook, Google or Twitter, and share Web content with their social graph -- also added a one-click option to turn the auto-share feature on or off. Brands can control the delay length through the widget's configurable share bar.
Olson said TMZ.com enabled the function. An auto prompt will ask readers if they want to share the content, providing an option. The retail store Neiman Marcus offers the same option after making a purchase on their Web site.
Social sharing emerged as an alternative to serving up ads in exchange for free content across the Web, but does "frictionless" sharing lead to more friction and less sharing, or will the ad-supported content model prevail? That depends on the type of content.
When it comes to music, research firm eMarketer believes that earning revenue from free music will come from an ad-supported model. Advertising revenue, which makes up the bulk of U.S. mobile music revenue, will gain greater market share in the next few years. It accounts for about 69% today, rising to more than 86% by 2016, according to eMarketer.
While eMarketer points to an increase in revenue from ad-supported models, it's less clear whether social sharing can supplement revenue gains. It cites MiMedia, estimating that 49% of U.S. Internet users don't use social media sites to share personal digital media.
Daily active users on Spotify -- which shares music playlists with friends each time someone who didn't opt out adds a song to their repertoire -- continue to fluctuate between 7.5 million daily active users on Sept. 17, rising to 8.1 million on Sept. 26, and sliding again to nearly 7.9 million on Oct. 4, according to AppData.
The Washington Post's social reader did well in the beginning, but its numbers have declined in recent months, according to metrics from AppData, independent application traffic tracking service of insider network, a division of WebMediaBrands.
Yahoo Social Bar integrated into Facebook, allowing friends to identify what those connected read and watch, with monthly active users dropping from 36 million monthly active users on Sept. 10 to 21 million on Oct. 4.