Sina Weibo will be launching an App Store for enterprise soon in the wake of its recent announcement of the Weibo display advertising platform and a revamped enterprise Weibo.
Earlier this month, Sina announced its enterprise Weibo 2.0, which provides better page customization, more insightful analytic tools and all new open APIs. Prior to this, Sina has already launched its Weibo display advertising system, which “incorporates a social interest graph recommendation engine”, and “allows advertising to be more targeted and relevant”.
The Weibo App store for enterprise would involve third-party developers to provide marketing tools to enterprise users on Weibo. There has already been an App Square on top of enterprise Weibo page, with few applications available. Currently there’re zero application under the categories of “information gathering”, “follower management” and “data analysis”.
The Weibo advertisement would be more mobilized, content oriented, real time and self-support enabled, said Ai Yong, the director of Sina sales strategy center.
Charles Chao, CEO of Sina, confirmed in an analyst conference call that the self-support advertising system for SMEs will be available for users in the fourth quarter this year.
Non-GAAP net loss attributable to SINA for the first quarter of 2012 was $14 million. Charles Chao said it was due to “the lower than expected advertising”. He expected that “the meaningful monetization from Weibo will start in the second half of the year”, with emphasis that the monetization would not be significant this year.
Sina’s continual investment in Weibo may result in operating loss in the second quarter and probably even the whole year, according to Charles. He expected “a more dominant social media platform and a strong ecosystem supporting the platform” to generate much higher return over the long term. The problem is, how long will it take, the Wall Street isn’t quite patient.
According to Charles, the total number of registered accounts for Weibo was 324 million at the end of March and the number of daily active user was slightly over 9% of the total registered accounts.
One of Sina’s biggest rivals, Tencent, also announced a social media marketing effort, aiming at socializing the traditional advertising by factoring in “social elements”, integrating Q-zone and its 577 million active user with Tencent Weibo, and adding social CRM service, self-support ads service to phase out some of its conventional marketing initiatives.
Marketers warmly embrace these social platforms, but when being asked to spend on it, they’re more cautious.The indefinite possibilities of targeted and interactive marketing now are confronting with marketers’ decreasing patience. Marketing professionals are all rattling off the story that General Motors has decided to stop advertising on Facebook, which went public last week.
Furthermore, Forrester analyst Nate Elliott wrote on his company blog: “One global consumer goods company told us recently that Facebook was getting worse, rather than better, at helping marketers succeed. And companies in industries from consumer electronics to financial services tell us they’re no longer sure Facebook is the best place to dedicate their social marketing budget — a shocking fact given the site’s dominance among users.”
The marketers need more practical social marketing solutions rather than only being stuffed with a fancy story about the beauty of social technology and social platforms.
“If Facebook did pay much attention to the marketers who handed it billions of dollars last year, and who make the site’s very existence possible, maybe we’d see innovative new marketing solutions every six months rather than every few years,” wrote Nate Elliott.
The piece was written by Wenyuan Zhao, he lives in Beijing and has interestes in areas like digital journalism transformation, social media, interactive marketing, innovation diffusion and society. You can follow him on Sina Weibo @Zhaowenyuan1985 or drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto