Glam Media is announcing a flurry of new features today centering around Ning, the social network building service that it acquired last year. Collectively, they give some sense of what Ning looks like once it has been integrated into Glam’s business and products.
Since Glam is primarily an ads business, perhaps the most important change is the fact that Ning creators can now run Glam ads in their community. Previously, if you had a network on Ning and you wanted advertising, you were mostly on your own. (In fact, Glam CEO Samir Arora says there were already two Ning networks had decided on their own to join Glam’s advertising program.) Now, assuming you fit into one of the company’s ad verticals, you can start monetizing in a more serious way, by running premium advertising from the network.
At the same time, Glam CEO Samir Arora says it’s not just about slapping traditional brand advertising onto Ning properties. He says that on Ning, the ads can be better targeted using social data, and that Glam is also “inventing new ad formats” that are uniquely social — for example, ads could take the form of branded discussions around a topic that’s connected to the advertiser.
Advertisers will be able to take advantage of those formats outside of Ning, through a new product called Glam Social. It’s supposedly “powered by Ning,” but will allow customers to run these types of social campaigns (like the one below) and build their own communities on their own websites, rather than being stuck on a Facebook Page or even a Ning community.
There are some improvements beyond the addition of ads. Glam is also announcing that Ning can optimize communities for the mobile web, whether it’s on a smartphone or a tablet. (Previously, larger Ning communities can hire someone to turn those communities into native apps.) And for the largest customers, Ning is also announcing a new paid product called Ning VIP, which is supposed to provide more scalability, customization, and support, with pricing starting at $1,000 per month.
In addition to the product news, Glam is also revealing that Ning’s communities are seeing more than 50 million unique active users per month, and that more than 2,000 new social networks are created monthly.