Monetization of social networks

Every founder or owner of a social network sooner or later thinks about what benefits he can derive from its existence.
The benefits can be either direct or indirect. But the topic of direct benefit is interesting in and of itself - to those who already have it, and those who are just creating, and those who are just thinking. And even just the participants.

In this article I want to describe the possibilities of monetization of various social networks known to me.
So, the main opportunities for monetizing a social network are:
1. Advertising
2. Paid services
3. Statistical information.

Let's consider each item in more detail.

Advertising.
Most sites on the network by advertising mean mostly display advertising - banners and news items. But a social network differs from other sites in that it can classify its audience.
Recently, targeted advertising is gaining momentum. This is an advertisement aimed only at the target audience you need.

Targeting, as a rule, is carried out
• based on the user's information about themselves
• taking into account the context
• taking into account geography.

Custom targeting
Whatever your network (under development or already a popular portal), you can always ask yourself the question: what information, taking into account the topics of the portal, could network users leave about themselves? And how exactly does this information allow you to classify them according to your needs?
Most often, user targeting is used on social networks, where one of the main goals of communication is the participant’s self-presentation (for example, dating sites, Odnoklassniki, Vkontakte, etc.).

Custom targeting is usually carried out on the basis of information that:
• The user left about himself
• Which was collected based on his behavior on the site.

Contextual targeting.
Here, the target audience is selected depending on the context of its actions. Usually these are sections with various information that allow you to track what exactly the user is interested in at the moment.

You can also mention geographic targeting , but it is usually now used in combination with contextual or custom.

Paid services.
By studying the nature of the user's needs that he satisfies on this social network, you can highlight those for which he is willing to pay.
I divided the needs into those that serve:
• for entertainment (for example, compliments)
• for organizing any activity (for example, additional search options, access to information, communication with clients)
• for solving presentation issues (for example, a business card site)
I note that in our realities people most often part with money if it satisfies their business interest, and entertainment is still at the end of the priority list.

Statistical Information.
A well-developed social network is a very valuable source of statistical information. But even if you are still at the beginning of your development, it makes sense to think about what kind of statistical information may be of interest to various organizations. Here, the algorithm of actions is the same as in determining the targeting for advertising. The only difference is that you do not collect information in order to offer people something, but for various other purposes - research, etc.

Finally, my recommendation for analysts is not to rush to create complex “tools” for statistics or advertising, just lay the opportunity to collect such information and think about how you can attract potential users.

Sincerely, Anna Bashinskaya.

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