Mobile social media, any form of social media accessed through mobile devices, has much in
common with online social media: the power of building relationships with consumers, the large and
rapidly growing user base, and the potential to incorporate sharing and community functionality
into every form of content. Mobile presents new opportunities, as these untethered mobile devices
are designed for communication – the raison d’être of social media – and can harness the power of
location. Still, new challenges await with more fragmentation and emerging business models that
still most prove their value.
This is the fourth in a series of POVs on mobile marketing, with several more to come. Read the previous editions on 360i’s Digital Connections blog, where you can also subscribe to receive subsequent updates.
Mobile and social are two emerging fields that are the source of constant innovation, as consumers
use what are increasingly their favorite devices (their mobile handsets) to engage in some of their
increasingly favorite digital activities (social media). Marketers who can start learning what works
here can wind up well ahead of their peers and provide added value for their consumers in the
There’s a higher learning curve in both mobile marketing and social media as neither offers
the clear-cut application of the media buying skills that marketers have honed in other
ComScore’s April 2010 data reveals that social networking is the fastest growing mobile content
category, whether accessed by mobile applications or browsers. There were 15 million U.S.
mobile users ages 13 and up engaged with social networking via applications, up 240% over the
previous year, and another 30 million users engaged with social networking via mobile browsers,
Facebook reports more than 100 million active users access Facebook through their mobile
devices. Facebook users accessing its mobile services are more than twice as active on Facebook
as non-mobile users. All Facebook reports that top Facebook applications as of June 2010 include
Facebook for iPhone (56 million monthly active users), Facebook Mobile (45 million) and
Facebook for BlackBerry (18 million); they rank among the top twenty Facebook applications. All
Facebook’s stats do not include users accessing the network from the mobile web.
Ground Truth, a mobile metrics firm, reported that in April 2010, 60% of the time US mobile
subscribers spent on mobile Internet usage was on social networking sites. MySpace, Facebook,
MocoSpace, FunForMobile, and AirG were the five most popular sites, in order.
surprisingly has the most mobile users as well. MySpace and other social networks have mobile extensions, such as optimized sites or apps, and many are ad-supported. One can expect that in the coming years, US social networks will follow the same course as Mixi, a leading network in Japan, which now has three-quarters of its users accessing the service from mobile devices.
that launched on mobile devices and attract most of their users there. They tend to attract
feature phone users and may specialize in reaching certain audience targets, such as MocoSpace
with 70% of its 12 million members comprised of Hispanics and African Americans.
entirely on social functionality or rely heavily on social features.
For instance, Words With Friends by developer Newtoy is an
asynchronous form of Scrabble; it’s part of a “With Friends” series
that has recorded over 6.5 million downloads. Gaming company
Ngmoco has developed a number of mobile social games where
users derive in-game benefits by cooperating with each other.
Connect to make it easy to share updates or photos directly
through the social network. Apps will often allow users to find
and invite their friends through Facebook, Twitter and other
Gaming has helped propel mobile social media, thanks in part to hit apps such as Words w ith Friends
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