Widespread availability of mobile and WiFi technologies and the confirmed enthusiasm of social users are paving the way to a new approach to delivering content “just in time” and marrying business models with brands “near you”: SoLoMo. This emerging term (amalgam of SOcial+ LOcal (or location)+MObile) will certainly be among the popular buzzwords in 2012. Why? Three main reasons:
1) Mobile and ultraconnectivity:
As mentioned by Paul Burns, VP Digital Media from Shaw during a panel at Next Media 2011 – “Since 2008 , we’ve been saying that this year is mobile year!”. Well it will certainly (again!) be the case in 2012… Mobile devices are driving unprecedented growth in a) consumer’s adoption both for tablets and smartphones, b) advertising spending and c) technological developments.
2) Location and local content:
Now that GPS capabilities are widespread (according to Comscore, in 2011 three out of four mobile subscribers have GPS capabilities), the interest in local content is also rising as people are looking for things that are relevant to them in their context: their city, their place in the city, the people they interact with. According to Stephen Hoover, chief executive of Xerox’s research and development unit (PARC): “We’re at the cusp of really being able to integrate all of these different sources of data and understand people’s intention in context and give them the information that’s useful at the time they need it”. From a strictly marketing point of view, it is highly probable that when you are pushing the right content, at the right moment, in the right place, there are less steps to be made to convert a user into a buyer.
3) Everybody is Social
According to George Colony, Chairman & CEO of Forrester Research, “social penetration” (ie online users having accessed or used social media) has reached its limits. Based on extensive surveys, Forrester reports that “social penetration” is over 75% everywhere in the world (86% in Canada), and that people already spend as much time as they can on social. So what’s next? According to Colony, there is now an opportunity for developing more efficient, faster and anti-”time-wasting” social apps. This seems to correlate with data related to usage on mobile phones: according to Comscore, “search” is the top activity of mobile browser users. Social networking is second.
In order to maximize the possibilities of SoLoMo in the future, it is important to remember that this is a concept related to how/when to ACCESS and INTERACT with CONTENT… it cannot be considered as a product in itself without having a well thought out content to deliver. But content producers and brand owners must understand the huge possibilities (both business and creative) offered by SoLoMo. For example, as smartphones are getting more “up, close and personal” with voice activation and dictation technologies (e.g. Dragon Dictation; and Apple’s newbie SIRI), that “friendly voice in your phone” could take the concept even further. Imagine walking by a movie theatre and hearing your phone calling you by your first name and reminding you that new movie from that obscure Bosnian filmmaker you like is only playing there for one more day…