SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Facebook may lay claim to being the world's top social networking site, but in the mobile arena, MySpace has the leg up in turning eyeballs into dollars -- thanks to Chandra Hill.
Tasked with squeezing revenue out of MySpace's mobile assets, Ms. Hill is credited with building the social-media play's mobile business into a profitable venture. When she joined News Corp.'s Fox Interactive Media in 2007, MySpace was available only as a monthly paid subscription.
Today, MySpace mobile is not only profitable, according to the company, but it is ahead of Facebook in monetizing its mobile traffic, as the latter has yet to make any ad inventory available on its mobile properties.
Ms. Hill, 37, saw then the potential to transform MySpace's wireless property into an impression-based media business and argued for opening it up to be a free, ad-supported service.
Priming the advertisers
"She was one of the first to note that you're not going to get the large addressable base of your MySpace users if you go down the path of these premium [paid] applications," said her boss, John Faith, general manager and VP of MySpace Mobile. "She is really a leader in the business, one of the people I rely on heavily to guide the strategic vision of where MySpace needs to be in the future."
Mobile is looming large in MySpace's overall business, as half of the property's traffic will come from mobile devices within two to three years, Mr. Faith said. This means Ms. Hill has to prime the advertisers, and bring them up to speed on all that the emerging medium has to offer. Ms. Hill said the complex mobile ecosystem can overwhelm those new to it, and part of her success will depend on the degree to which she can get marketers to see the value of mobile advertising, while helping existing clients achieve their advertising goals.
As for swaying more brands to advertise on MySpace?
"For all the success we've had with blue-chip advertisers that have come on board, there's still a lot more who don't know as much about mobile as we would like them to," Ms. Hill said. "We have to continue to educate the market on what we can do in mobile."
But as a veteran who has been steeped in mobile since 2004 when she was responsible for American Greetings' branded global mobile product line, Ms. Hill is well-positioned to take on those challenges.
"Sooner than others did, she understood the opportunities for advertising in mobile," said Paul Palmieri, president-CEO of mobile-ad network Millennial Media. "She's now at the forefront of driving the promises of social media."