Social Media

The New MySpace

Posted by Tom Edwards on June 19th, 2013 at 10:13 am

I was recently briefed by the MySpace team prior to the re-launch of the brand. I had worked closely with the MySpace team back in 2006-2007 and was intrigued to see what's new with the platform and what value the new platform can provide for brands.

My questions were primarily tied to 5 key areas:

1 - What is the "new" MySpace
2 - Discoverability of content
3 - Brand Value Proposition
4 - Amplification Capabilities
5 - Influencer Identification & Activation

The "New" MySpace

June 12th marked the official re-launch of MySpace.com. You may have seen the comprehensive media blitz tied to driving acquisition of new and nostalgic users. This is definitely not your old MySpace. Gone are rainbow unicorns and other elements that made MySpace what it was in its heyday.

myspace1_f

MySpace currently has a user base of 20 million that is primarily 18-29 years of age. The re-launch will focus on positioning itself as the alternative destination for the 18-34 set. One of the key goals is to add enough value with the experience to attract the 29-34 set to increase the affluent user base.

The focus on a highly visual user experience (horizontal scroll vs. vertical) that is grounded in music, editorial & curated content and an advertising light/contextual ad experience was redesigned from the ground up with the goal of increasing the current base of users.

Landing Page

One of the key areas of strength for the platform is the focus on music. From high profile investors such as Justin Timberlake to the 52,000,000 songs free for consumers, MySpace is laser focused on connecting fans with artists and extending those connections through the re-launch.

When I asked the MySpace team to describe the new platform compared to existing platforms the team said that it is part Spotify, part Pandora and a little bit of Pinterest. It was interesting that Facebook was not directly mentioned and after reviewing the platform I can see why.

MySpace comparison

The key terms that were repeated by the team were tied to affinity, discoverability and connection with the key symbol of the platform being the infinity symbol.

BlackKeys

Discoverability

At its core Facebook is a story telling and amplification platform built on individual connections. MySpace, similar to Pinterest, is focused on discoverability and affinity. A subtle difference, but a difference nonetheless.

One of the main areas of focus with the new experience is tied to Discovery. From the pervasive bottom navigation to the traditional discover tab, "discover" is front and center for the user.

When a user clicks into this section the MySpace team will feature editorial & trending curated content. This is also going to be a key area of aligning with brands via contextual advertising vs. traditional paid units. More on that in the amplification section.

Featured

Another key point of discovery tied to the platform is the visually appealing search functionality. Clear text ques and hashtag support is another element to drive discoverability of people, content & brands.

Search

MySpace Mobile

With the launch MySpace has also redesigned its iOS app to offer users the chance to upload animated GIFs and stream "social radio,". This again is to further enable connection and discoverbility of artists & content.

myspace mobile

Brand Value Proposition

A number of my questions were focused on how brands can get the most out of the platform. I asked questions tied to content penetration, ability to support promotion, and opportunities tied to hyper local targeting.

One of the core areas of focus was tied to a brands ability to drive reach & engagement on the platform. I did not get definitive numbers such as those tied to Facebook and EdgeRank. The responses ranged from we will continue to refine the content that is presented as we continue to scale, so this will definitely be an area to focus on as more brands work to connect with users.

Brands with a close association to music & musical artists can find the platform to be a key element to consider in terms of driving sponsorship or activation. From contextual playlists to the ability to connect an artists performance on a show like Jimmy Kimmel that then kicks over to a exclusive live stream on MySpace, there are many opportunities to connect brands beyond the walls of MySpace to create more integrated engagements.

The platform also supports more traditional promotions that can tie into retail activations similar to the Bud Light example below into more comprehensive user engagements such as the 50 shows 50 states 1 day activation from Bud Light.

In-Store Code Redemption

Bud Light Home

50:50:1 example

50501

Promotions are deep linkable so cross platform and traditional digital units can support awareness of activations. For brands that require age gating, the Bud Light example also showcases how this is handled in order to present content to those of legal age.

Example of Age Gating

Age Gate

One of the other key attributes to the platform is the ability to drive purchase directly through the platform. This is where a Pinterest comparison comes into play. By enabling e-commerce through the experience the goal is to directly impact revenue for those organizations that choose to leverage the commerce and royalties functionality.

Amplification

When it comes to content and the importance of visibility of owned messages, I asked a series of questions tied to amplification capabilities of the platform. The following is the breakdown of key points of the discussion.

Owned Post Amplification - It appears that organic post level amplification to increase reach on an individual piece of content is not a current option at launch it is not out of the realm of possibility for the future.

Advertising - The ad types will vary depending on how the user interacts with the platform. There will be ads tied to the streaming service which may morph into a subscription type service to be ad free.

When it comes to in-stream advertising there are a few options to consider:

Log In Ad/Welcome Tray - Brands will have an opportunity to "own" the prime spot of log in prior to the user moving through their feed. This unit looks like a highlighted content unit and is built to look like a contextual placement vs. a traditional ad. This spot is owned by the brand for the day and will initially be available to all users. I did ask about targeting moving forward and that will more than likely be an option in future updates.

In Stream Ads - Brands will also have the option to position contextual ads in the horizontal stream of users. No additional details were shared beyond the fact that this option exists.

Discover Ad - This comes in the form of a contextual ad unit that could be as simple as a playlist that leads into a branded experience. The key again is to leverage the brands association with relevant and contextual content to maximize opportunities for engagement.

Discover Ad

Targeting - Ad targeting is based on three primary points of targeting:

1) Demographic & In Platform Behavior - The profile of a user is taken into consideration as one point of targeting
2) Inferences based on Affinity - The final element, similar to Twitter's focus on the Interest graph is MySpace's own ability to target based on users affinity signals.

Brand Messaging Capability - One of the key differences between MySpace & Facebook in terms of brands interacting with users is tied to the ability of brands to send messages to users via the MySpace mail & message service.

Extensibility - One of the other key elements is for elements of MySpace, such as the MySpace music player to extend to other networks, for example it is possible to live stream an event via an API onto Facebook if there is a goal to drive engagement with sponsored content cross platform.

Influencer Connection

One of the areas I was most excited to see is tied to what MySpace calls the Infinity Score. One of the big missing elements associated with the native Facebook platform is the ability to dive deeper into social & topical relevance of users.

With the upcoming launch, it is possible for bands & brands to see who their "top fans". Top fans are people who have interacted the most with an artist or brands content. Top Fans are then granted exclusive access or available to activate against.

Top Fans

The key for a user to become a "top fan" is directly tied to factors such as impact of shareability through their network, interaction with the content (e.g. music listens) and other factors that MySpace did not fully reveal.

This level of visualization also incents users to continue to engage to maintain their position with this very passive gamification/engagement layer.

Next Steps

It will be very interesting to watch what happens post launch. Some of my questions were tied to considerations around rebranding vs. keeping the MySpace name. One thing is for sure. Most web users definitely have an opinion about MySpace. With the alignment with Specific Media there are definitely opportunities for MySpace to provide value for the right brand.

Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

7 Responses to “The New MySpace”

  1. David S says:

    As it is, MySpace have failed with the new relaunch. When I joined MySpace back in 2005? It was not mainly just for music artists or the fans. There was more to it like other entertainment, sports, videos and recently that kept MySpace alive was all the apps including the games. What people need and I was once in the demographic age range they are targeted. I want a social network that is only a one stop place to be. Just having concentrating on music? They dropped a lot of things that will turn everybody away. Blogs, inbox messages, games, videos that are none music and so much more. Now, without all the stuff? Artists, fans, and others have no place on there to interact with each other without groups or forums to talk about the music, tv or movies that they listened and watched. Politics, people to display their poems and writings. I had some poems on my blog on the classic that I want back.

    As it is, there is nothing but Negative feedback from all the longtime MySpace loyals. A lot of them are in the 18 to 34 also complaining that they want their classic Myspace back. People want their blogs, their messages, their games, easier searching, no scrolling through connections, favorites, groups, forums and everything else they dropped. Myspace should have listened to their members long time ago before they left for Facebook. Now, Facebook is doing the exact same thing Myspace is doing in the past. Facebook is not listening either. So, what will help save Myspace? They need to go back to the way it was supposed to be. Get rid of the junk new MySpace since it eats up resources, and takes up too much bandwidthe, and return to what people love. This is becoming like Coke back in the 1980s when Coke came out with a new recipe, and they got backlash for doing it. Now, MySpace is getting the exact same backlash from their members, music artists, comedians, bloggers, writers, gamers and so many more.

    • Tanya L says:

      I agree with everything David has said. The only reason my friends and I are signing up for the new myspace is to be able to delete our accounts, they offer absolutely nothing for us to hang out there and do. If they would keep track of these deletions, they will see just how many true Myspacers were left.

      We never left Myspace for Facebook, it was a true Social Network place to hang out. We loved being able to leave comments on our friends pages, changing the layouts to suit ourselves; including but not limited to the ability to have our own look on our home page. The changes made on the first sale of Myspace messed it up for some of us, but we adapted, we never left. We played our games, listened to our popout song playlists, chatting the time away as we interacted with our friends. Seeing who was having a birthday coming up, picking the right comment pictures to post on their wall or just being able to type it there in comments. Now it is gone.

      Facebook couldn't compete to pull us away from Myspace. We didn't want to twitter, babble or whatever the other Social Sites said was great, we wanted it our way in our Space, Myspace!
      The new owners were not interested in what made Myspace Myspace. They need a new name because that is not Myspace anymore. Say that to yourself "MYSPACE" and that is no longer true.

  2. kathy robertson says:

    Why is Myspace refusing to answer any questions about users' deleted blogs?

  3. Rod Cooper says:

    You guys are ridiculous. Really? - you want your blogs back? You want to game online? Lemme tell you, there are a ton better places to do both than at Myspace. Why do you need one place to do everything? - specialization is a key to the growth of the Internet.

    Get with the program and quit bitching and whining about how you were wronged by Myspace. Fucking bunch of scorned lovers.

    • suedinym says:

      Welcome to the neighborhood! A greeting committee like Rod Cooper surely makes you want to run out and spend your advertising budget with new myspace, doesn't it? Make sure to keep the advertising short... and largely visual or audible, as, if Mr. Cooper is an example of the new demographic (which apparently doesn't place any value in written content) any advert copy will have to use words limited to four letters or less.

      This confuses me, as there is no longer messaging or mail service on myspace. <> https://www.askmyspace.com/t5/Your-Profile/Where-is-my-stuff/ba-p/52349 (The lack of an actual message system, as well as the loss of messages sent prior to the launch is another complaint voiced by many loyal former users.)

      It also seems that myspace is not able to give any definitive answers at this time to many of the interviewer's questions, and much of the interface has yet to be developed. If the past is indicative of the future, this is something you can expect to continue for an indefinite period of time. The basis of almost every former user complaint is 'Why didn't you give us a specific time frame of when the launch would happen?"

      (Hint: even the game developers, like Zynga, were not given significant notification of when 'games would be removed'. That announcement was buried in the former 'help desk', and Zynga was alerted to the announcement on their own forum, by players! The announcement was made somewhat less than a week prior to the launch, and no date was specified on the announcement.)

      Ask yourself, if this is the way myspace treats it's loyal user base, and one of, if not the largest online gaming company, do I really want to trust them with my advertising budget?

      • suedinym says:

        This confuses me, as there is no longer messaging or mail service on myspace:

        "One of the key differences between MySpace & Facebook in terms of brands interacting with users is tied to the ability of brands to send messages to users via the MySpace mail & message service."

        https://www.askmyspace.com/t5/Your-Profile/Where-is-my-stuff/ba-p/52349

        (The lack of an actual message system, as well as the loss of messages sent prior to the launch is another complaint voiced by many loyal former users.)

  4. Rod Cooper says:

    ...and David S. - the only folks that are 'backlashing' are idiot users like you who griped about how crappy Myspace was, ran to Facebook and now want your old Myspace back. Which IS IT?

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