Social Applications: Revenue Models, Delivery Channels, and Critical Success Factors - An Exploratory Study and Evidence from the Spanish-Speaking Market
In the context of growing interest in both Mobile-Internet convergence and Web 2.0 social technologies, this article investigates the business opportunities derived from offering Social Applications in the convergent scenario, particularly regarding Social Network and Content Sharing services. Given the business model structural deficiencies identified in literature for this type of convergent services, the investigation is oriented towards the role of the technology delivery channels (either Internet and/or Mobile) and revenue appropriation strategies. A mixed-methods research strategy was employed consisting of a cross-sectional survey of 124 Social Application services offered in Spanish language and seven case studies with representative Social Network and Content Sharing services. While the aim of the survey was to map and identify the overall main characteristics and business model dimensions of Social Applications, the case studies’ objective was to understand the strategic reasoning behind business model design and evolution. The research offered a detailed view on the dynamics of Social Network and Content Sharing services, showing how the revenue strategies are tightly linked to the technological delivery channel. Finally, six critical success factors for business models of Content Sharing and Social Network services were identified.