Frederick Ghahramani co-founded AirG in 2000. Today the mobile social networking community has 20 million users. eMarketer spoke with him about what is driving growth and what it means for marketers.
eMarketer: What does this growth say about consumer attitudes to the mobile channel?
Frederick Ghahramani: It says that mobile-only social communities are an undisputed consumer phenomenon.
It is the mass market consumer that is driving the use of mobile content. When the right services are marketed correctly to a mass audience and can bring them together in one place on their mobile phone to chat, share photos and videos, search and check profiles, consumers will be engaged on their mobile phones—some for more than an hour each day.
eMarketer: How should marketers react to this growth? What should they do?
Mr. Ghahramani: With billions of advertising impressions generated per month there is a tremendous inventory available to marketers and advertisers to reach their target customers on their mobile phones.
eMarketer: What are user demographics like?
Mr. Ghahramani: The majority of customers spend more than an hour a day in the community. Nearly 60% don’t own a PC. Six in 10 have at least a high school education. The average annual income is $41,000, and the five most popular handsets used to access AirG all retail for less than $100 with a service contract.
The market is in a frenzy over new devices like the iPhone, but the reality is that the mass market consumer is using a handset that costs $100 or less to access mobile services.
eMarketer: How big do you think mobile social networking will get?
Mr. Ghahramani: According to Juniper Research, the number of users of mobile chat and dating services is expected to rise from just over 40 million in 2007 to 260 million in 2012, with revenues expected to exceed $1 billion in 2010.
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