Myspace is back, and you’re probably already thinking about the best jokes you can share about its return. It’s hard to remember a brand that launched with such dramatically low expectations, but if my first experience using the new site is any indication, the new Myspace may be more important for marketers in 2013 than you might think.
While it is tempting to dismiss any new social network as unworthy of attention, Google+ and its slow-rising popularity show there is plenty of room in the social networking world for more destinations for expression, as long as they offer something unique.
To be fair, Myspace doesn’t quite meet this criterion. The site’s functionality is still limited, and you’re not yet able to add all your friends and promote brands. Still, there are plenty of reasons for marketers to get excited about its potential.
1. Horizontal navigation
The one user interface feature I was excited about is how people’s profiles unfold from left to right and scroll horizontally. Given the way we read books, and the fact that most computer screens are horizontally oriented, it is one of those rare design ideas that makes a lot of sense. You wonder why no other large site uses this navigation style.
As more consumers get used to this style, it opens up more possibilities for brands in powering new ideas for online engagement.
2. Visual search
When you search for an artist or person, the search box takes over the entire screen, and your search query is presented in a satisfyingly large font. More importantly, searching for a brand not only provides relevant people and songs, but offers a complete social portrait of a brand in terms of entertainment.
In the future, I could see this becoming a sort of visual pop-culture search for brands. Do you want to see songs that mention Hennessy Cognac, or Coca-Cola? Myspace can find them.
3. “Hidden” user data
Right after you register, Myspace asks a unique set of questions to help you describe yourself. As I went through the registration process, everything from that first question to selecting a song to relay my personality and beliefs—I chose “Half the World” from Rush—were questions I hadn’t been asked before, or ever posted online.
Right now I have a unique mix of a few of my favorite Latin songs (see image below), and I shared a virtual concert I’ll attend for the talented Ana Free. If other users end up sharing more unique data about themselves and preferences that are not duplicated anywhere else, it will become an opportunity for the right brands to engage people based on interests they have only declared in one place online—Myspace.
4. Expression-centric interface
Myspace’s interface is designed around entertainment—music in particular. This is great for entertainers to showcase their talents. It’s also a great model for anyone who wants to present more of their creative and artistic side.
For example, the background image on my profile is a photo I took on my recent family trip to India. Before I shared it on Myspace, I hadn’t really posted it anywhere online. The brilliance of putting expression front and center is clearly tapping into the trend of social visualization.
5. Interactive brand promotion
With high-profile celebrities like Justin Timberlake behind Myspace’s resurgence, one of the marketing tactics we will likely see in the coming months is more actors, musicians, artists, and other expressive celebrities turning to Myspace as a new way to share their work.
Rohit Bhargava is the award-winning author of “Personality Not Included” and “Likeonomics,” and adjunct professor of Global Marketing at Georgetown University. He also blogs at Influential Marketing Blog, where a version of this article first appeared. (Image via)