Mobile social networking is booming: one-third of US consumers will log onto social networking sites via mobile devices at least once per month by 2014, according to new estimates from eMarketer. That’s nearly 43% of mobile phone users – and the vast majority of them will be using a smartphone to access social networks.
This growth will lead to a near doubling of monthly mobile Facebook users. Currently estimated at just under 50 million, by 2014 nearly 94 million Americans will be logging onto Facebook from their mobile phones at least once per month – 98% of them will do so from a smartphone.
Not surprisingly, mobile video is also on the rise, though a bit more slowly. In 2012, 1 in 5 Americans (or 25% of US mobile phone users) will watch mobile video monthly. It will take until 2016 for that number to rise to one-third of the US population (~110 million). As with social networking, most users will be accessing mobile video via smartphone.
In addition, as more Americans are using mobile to access social networks, most are doing so through mobile apps. Mobile social networking apps now rival gaming for overall time spent on mobile apps, according to a recent report by analytics firm Flurry.
The report compared the time consumers spend across different application categories when using smartphones. In the first quarter of 2011, consumers spent 25 minutes (37%) of their app-using time in Games, and 15 minutes (22%) of their time in Social Networking apps.
However, this data changed significantly in just one year: in the first quarter of 2012, Games usage dropped by 4% (down to 24 minutes/day), while Social Networking increased by 60% (up to 24 minutes/day). Games and Social Networking app categories each controlled 31% of consumers’ time – according to Flurry, this is the first time another app category has rivaled Games for time spent. 2012 also marked a large shift in time spent on mobile apps overall, which rose from 68 to 77 minutes, year over year.
The numbers are clear: advertisers need to move into mobile, and fast.