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BizReport : Social Marketing : July 28, 2010

Can Bebo bounce back?

Could Bebo be the answer for teens who are fed up with their parents and grandparents invading their space on Facebook and marketers who want to connect with the younger demographics? The new owners think so.

by Helen Leggatt

bebo-logo.gifAOL bought Bebo just over 2 years ago for around $850 million. Last month saw the site sold to Criterion Capital Partners (CCP) for a great deal less. Some reports put the figure at just $10 million.

However, the new owners of Bebo believe the site can be revived and even retake its place as a rival to Facebook and other social networks.

"We'll be marketing to try to bring people back to Bebo, but what has been great is that, since we took over, initiatives such as Free Love Day have seen users requesting to reactivate memberships," said Adam Levin, the new head of Bebo.

By creating content and an environment purely for the site's core demographic of 14 - 24 year olds Bebo believes they can re-engage with its audience.

If they get the balance right I believe Bebo stands a good chance of pulling in younger Facebook users, particularly in light of recent research from Roiworld. The results of their study, "Teen and Social Networks", suggests teens are losing interest in the 500 million-strong social network because they have lost interest (45%), their parents have joined (16%) or there are too many older people using it (14%).

Brands looking to target Bebo's core demographic will be encouraged by new rich advertising options and a smartphone-optimized version of the site. A new video homepage is also to be added where product placement-based content will be shown.

Tags: Bebo, online advertising, product placement, social network, teen demographic

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