Path, the so-far-brandless mobile social network, announced over the last few days that it has reached 2 million users worldwide.
Path is, in a sense, the ‘perfect’ social network, uncluttered by ads, facilitatory to content sharing cross-network and has a beautifully simple UI – It’s person to person exchange friendly.
You share thoughts, location and imagery with no unhelpful content as an unimaginative border and background, allowing you to have a personal digital connection with friends.
It is yet to adopt a brand-focused offering, however, and this is the greatest potential problem that may face the burgeoning platform.
Brands eventually find their way on to most popular platforms as their potential revenue is sought to allow a service to grow. be it through ads or dedicated profiles, the big and small, useless and useful, brands always get their place.
Path is at a point where to grow, there must be either an increase in revenue from users, advertisers or an optimistic VC.
I, as a user, sincerely hope they stay away from membership charges and advertising.
However, as a marketer, I can see that a presence on Path could present many opportunities for brands.
Being present in a user’s stream serving them with content is of course the bread and butter of digital communication.
The Path community are after a personal experience, something that brands struggle to offer once they find themselves with a community too large to handle.
Path could give brands an opportunity to do just this – but it will require investment. We’re getting past that hurdle now as brand managers, both locally and globally, see the benefits of communicating with customers online.
Sharing pictures that are inspired by a small group of users, or encouraging a group of people to listen to music a brand likes could generate interaction.
With a user base of 2 million, the potential reach is far less than that of Facebook or Google Plus. However, the personal touch that the Path experience can offer, may be enough to encourage users to interact with a brand should they set up a presence.
Personally, I hope Path remains ad and brandless, professionally however I anticipate it is only a matter of time before a Path strategy becomes an ordinary part of the job.