Info is the new oil and Zuckerberg is the next Rockefeller.
Last week we talked about Facebook’s successful commandeering of the geo-location space by integrating all major players with its API. Why did Facebook make this move? The answer is that mobile apps will define the future of commerce. Understanding this fact is key to understanding the future of social media.
The value in the social media revolution is not the networking or even the promotional aspects (though those are both valuable) it is information. A popular phrase in development circles is “information is the new oil,” and the drilling has only just begun. In a similar fashion to fellow New Yorker John D. Rockefeller, Mr. Zuckerberg has consolidated the means of production and dissemination of data such that even Facebook’s competitors must rely, in some capacity, on Facebook. Like oil products, information comes in many forms, and in different qualities and grades. While Facebook certainly has the most information, it is also the most basic and crude. This is where apps come in.
Apps are small drills that can collect niche information. They accomplish this by providing something useful or fun so that while one is searching for restaurants, collecting badges, racking up points, or receiving mobile coupons, the company is simultaneously collecting valuable behavioral information. Apps serve different industries, locales, and demographics and that information is extremely valuable; the Nielsen Company, the world’s largest market research firm, sold five billion dollars worth of such information in 2009.
Mobile social apps and games are changing the way consumers are motivated, the way market information is collected, and how it is analyzed by marketers. The same apps are providing the platform upon which advertising and marketing campaigns will be conducted while simultaneously collecting even more information to inform the next campaign. Bringing new, relevant, and valuable information to the table places mobile social apps at the center of future commerce. What will these apps will look like? I’ll give you a peak in the next post.