mobile social network

In last weeks post wrote I that Local Search is predicted to be the killer app for mobile phones based on a Juniper Research report predicting that Local search is to account for 43% of cumulative mobile search advertising revenues between 2008 and 2013.

Hot off the heels of this study comes a new Nielson Mobile report showing a growing number of mobile phone subscribers worldwide are taking online social networking to the pubs, streets and subways!

The Nielsen Mobile report show that the U.K. leads Europe in mobile social networking with the U.S. showing similar numbers.

Mobile social networking access by country:

mobile social networking reach and usage

Nielsen Mobile goes on to say:

  • Approximately 810,000 UK mobile subscribers, roughly 1.7 per cent, visited social networking websites on their mobile phones in the first quarter of 2008.
    • this percentage was slightly higher than in other major European markets, where 1.6 per cent of all mobile subscribers (4.1 million in all) accessed social networks via their phones in December 2007.
  • was the leading social networking site among PC users in the US, and also the most popular mobile internet social networking site with 2.8 million unique mobile users in December 2007.
  • Facebook, which has the second largest audience among social networking sites, had 1.8 million unique mobile users in December.
  • In contrast, Facebook led mobile social networking sites in the UK with 557,000 unique mobile users per month in Q1 2008, while MySpace followed with 211,000.
  • Facebook and MySpace were also among the top social networking sites in other European countries during the first quarter of 2008.

In addition, I came across this eMarketer prediction that shows mobile social networks will rise from 82 million users in 2007 to 800 million worldwide by 2012.

mobile social networking users

Social networking is already a global phenomenon, and going mobile is the next big thing, said Jeff Herrmann, vice president of Mobile Media at Nielsen Mobile. It appears as though the demand for social media on go is driving service providers packages. Recently, Vodafone UKs offered unlimited Internet access as a standard feature of its new monthly mobile price plans, Vodafone to offer a mobile link to European users of MySpace and Youtube and France Telecom's Orange UK said it would begin offering its customers access to Bebo this summer.

This is easy to understand as ComScore numbers show 403.3 million unique visitors worldwide visited online community sites February alone. What is staggering is that this figure is growing at an annual clip of about 30%! With mobile phones already the hub of most people's social networks, the combination of the two seems like a natural.

So, was my column last week misleading? Is social media now the "new" killer app for mobile? I'm not entirely sold.....yet! More users will want to join because they can be part of a connected community and this should result in a boom for the mobile carriers. But the fact is that the average time right now an average user spends on social media amounts to just over 30 seconds or just enough time to check the latest message. While the infrastructure is in place for this to continue to improve and scale, its still a way off. However, as i mentioned last week, each of the studies I reference point to one thing; the tipping point is here, mobile search is now a topic of conversation with clients.