Struggling former KING of Japanese SNS, Mixi has created an official Facebook page! WOW.
-mixi Xmas 2012-
A recent article in the Nikkei says that Mixi's active users (users who use Mixi more than once a month) has declined from its peak of 15,470,000 of May 2011to 14,020,000 in September 2012.
On the other hand, the COO of Facebook has reportedly blogged in September 2012 that active users in Japan exceeded 16 million, which led to a host of speculative news reporting that Facebook has finally overtaken Mixi.
Twitter users are said to 20 million in various surveys and home grown messaging-giant-come-SNS, LINE, now boasts 35 million users in Japan alone.
Once not so long ago, it was said that Facebook could never dominate Japan because of the unique mobile phone ownership/usage behavior of Japanese; namely, our attachment to our KEITAI phones that are nothing like the GSM phones or smartphones.
But 2012 saw a surge in the number of smartphones in active use as market leader Docomo launched a suite of Android phones that converted hard core Docomo users who would not go near an iPhone with a 10-foot pole to join the rest of the industrialized world in its use of smartphones. As at November 2011, Fuji Chimera Research reported that there were 26,830,000 smartphone accounts in Japan, out of the total of 113,340,000 mobile accounts. The think tank also projected that by 2016, smartphone accounts will reach 95 million, and account for 80% of total mobile phone accounts in Japan.
Mixi is steadily seeing access to its service switch from approximately 40% via smartphones in January 2012 to over 60% in September, but it seems it is losing advertising revenue and after the "konpu gacha" debacle, its games revenue is not enough to make up for it.
Earlier this month, Mixi announced a collaboration with DeNA, which will enable to the two companies to share game development platforms. But in response to questions from reporters about whether Mixi is going to become a gaming platform like GREE, CEO Kenji Kasahara said "No." Gaming is merely a secondary part of Mixi's business, he says, and Mixi will use the income gained through gaming to enhance the social networking platform.
I have seen research that indicated that Mixi users are younger and less affluent than Facebook users. Perhaps that gives businesses more reason to divert their advertising dollars to Facebook.
Another article in the Nikkei recently indicated that LINE vouchers have a 7% to 8% response rate, more than double the average 3% seen through other services. Perhaps this is another reason for advertisers to pull their resources out of Mixi and into LINE instead.
Either way, Mixi obviously sees the need to take action or die, but how unexpected it was to see an official Facebook Page, although it is not for Mixi itself, but for Mixi Xmas 2013, a seasonal event/campaign.
I doubt I would ever see a Cartoon Network ad on Disney Channel, but in the world of SNS, it seems such is possible. I wonder how this will help Mixi; and is this a sign of confidence on the part of Facebook?