Analysis: Can the newly redesigned MySpace ever draw advertising megabucks?

When social media platform MySpace was sold to Specific Media last year for a lot less than News Corporation originally paid for it, a few eye brows were raised and a few people would have been forgiven for asking with the dominance of Facebook – ‘why bother?’

With Facebook reported to have made over $3billion in advertising revenue last year however, it’s fair to say that no one can blame Specific Media for wanting to get in on the action.

But can MySpace, albeit a revitalised and from today, a redesigned MySpace, every really be an advertising draw?

Phillip Dyte, paid social planner for Aegis owned online marketing company iProspect believes that the redesign shows that it’s here to stay, and not just in it for its user’s data.

“This redesign is a clear commitment to the site’s future. Myspace has moved away from trying to compete with Facebook or Twitter to instead using those services as its social passport, becoming a ‘social layer’ service comparable to Tumblr or Pinterest,” explained Dyte.

“Nonetheless, Myspace knows it will still face an uphill struggle to win back users - it is surely no accident that the promo for the redesign features the lyrics, “I haven’t loved you in a long long time.” Although Specific Media succeeded in stopping the bleed, and even added a million new users, it will take hard work and commitment to truly re-engage its audience,” he added.

Jon Myers, commercial director EMEA for Marin Software however doesn’t see advertisers being drawn to the service, despite growing its audience.

"New niche social networks like Pinterest and MySpace are focusing on building an audience, because until they have a critical mass of users they can't monetise the sites via paid media,” says Myers.

“For advertisers this doesn't really offer an advertising opportunity, because for the foreseeable future there isn't much of an audience to target. If advertisers are looking to target a niche in the music industry, they should be looking at targeting their niche within Facebook's 950m users or via YouTube's 92 billion page views each month . The targeting options there enable you to target a particular niche within a large audience on a social platform, where they are regularly actively engaged. Focusing on these platforms and new innovative advertising opportunities within them, like Facebook's new mobile targeting options, would be where I would focus my energy if I was an advertiser."

Even if MySpace doesn’t turn out to be quite as lucrative an advertising platform as Mr Zuckerberg’s social media behemoth, the more it attracts a new audience, the more likely it is to attract advertising spend, which Specific Media will be well placed to leverage.

“There are clear gains to be made: As both ad network and media owner, Specific Media would be the sole provider of advertising on the site, which is a potentially lucrative position. Expect to see the network leveraging its existing relationships with agency display teams in a bid to attract big clients,” explains Phillip Dyte.

“When it comes to social advertising, there are no details as yet, but it is hard to see how Myspace will offer social ads á la Facebook. This sort of advertising relies on large audiences voluntarily providing vast quantities of social data. By choosing to let people use Facebook or Twitter to log in, Myspace effectively passes on the opportunity. However, this is wise: Myspace lost to Facebook once already, and knows that this time around it must be something else entirely, “ he surmises.

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