The Next Trend in Mobile & Social? Anonymity | DMA

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The Next Trend in Mobile & Social? Anonymity

When Facebook first became popular I was always amazed about how much information people were prepared to share publicly. I wasn’t the only one. A site called Open Book took Facebook’s API and showed updates on a variety of embarrassing subjects, such as ‘cheated in an exam’.

Spurred on by confusing policies on social media sites and government privacy breaches, users are valuing anonymity more and more. Snapchat is a prime example of this. Although many people were bemused by the idea that a message would only live for a few seconds, teenagers saw a benefit in (potentially) anonymous disposable communications. It seems as though businesses are also beginning to catch on. Temporary messages, for example, can be useful to ensure the confidentiality of commercial information or transactions. Mobile World Congress also saw the announcement of The Blackphone, which is built around a secure environment. Although there is clearly a benefit to governments, the manufacturers see the enterprise market as a significant customer base.

It’s not just devices though, there are a growing number of anonymous social media apps that are attracting start-up funding such as Secret, Wut, Telegram and Wickr. The most successful of these is Whisper, which is an anonymous app where users to post, like or comment on confessions. It was recently valued at $200m and receives over 3.5bn views per month.

From a marketing perspective this trend is significant. Just as brands are beginning to understand how to engage in Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, it looks like users may be migrating elsewhere. Obviously that will make it more difficult to collect data or deliver targeted marketing. However, it is possible that too much marketing in existing digital channels may simply drive users to anonymous channels in search of an ad-free environment.

Read More:
Five anonymous social media apps
Privacy and The User Experience

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