Social networking business models to shift

Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook will look at identifying their most influential members, and what they are saying, in a bid to become more useful to brands doing marketing, a new report claims.

Forrester Research's 'The Future of the Social Web' report looks forward to an era of "social colonisation" on the web, as people who have multiple identities on the web via sites like LinkedIn and MySpace adopt the OpenID system -- currently being developed by web giants including Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft.

This will allow people to migrate more easily across web communities with a single identity.

The report says that at the same time there will be a shift in social networks' business models away from being funded by ads.

Instead they will use the data they collect to help brands better target users. The upshot will be fewer ads, but those that remain will be more interactive and relevant, leading to better click-through rates and higher CPM.

Jeremiah Owyang, author of the report, said: "A simple set of technologies that enable a portable identity will soon empower consumers to bring their identities with them - transforming marketing, e-commerce, CRM, and advertising."

The report also suggests that television networks will take a leaf from the likes of online radio station Pandora and create personalised television stations, based on a users likes and recommendations from friends.

This, in turn, will cut down on the amount of channel surfing to find the "least worst" programme.

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