SHANGHAI: Renren, the Chinese social networking site, will focus on improving its mobile offering in 2013, reflecting increasing demand for such a service from its user base.
Alvin Chiang, chief marketing officer, told Campaign Asia-Pacific how Renren users can now use their voice to publish status updates or comment on friends' content.
"Generating content on mobile is not as easy as on the PC, as typing on mobile is slow," remarked Chiang, "so that's where voice comes into play."
"We've seen UGC creations and user engagement increasing after we launched this," he added.
In addition, an internal restructuring has streamlined products and resources in order to benefit the end-user experience on mobile.
"We found if a user gets annoyed on the mobile, they won't bother going to the PC platform," he explained.
When it comes to monetisation, mobile advertising is not at the top of Renren's list of priorities, languishing behind gaming and commerce.
Chiang observed that current mobile ad pricing "is low relative to the value you are getting out of mobile marketing" and that advertisers should act now before the situation changes.
Gaming and commerce saw significant growth for Renren in 2012, with revenue from online games up 113% on the previous year and that from its social commerce service, Nuomi, up 150%.
During the same period, the number of activated users rose 21% to 178m, while monthly unique log-ins increased 47% to 56m.
Renren has also launched a pair of standalone mobile apps that it hopes will attract more users. Bobo alters user voices so they sound like cartoon characters, while Meimei detects human faces in images and then improves the lighting and complexion.
Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff