Smartphones have had a huge impact on the viewing habits of mobile users across the world, and now more people than ever before are consuming social media on the move.
Social media is an invention, which has changed the way people communicate and absorb information. While it means there is less face-to-face interaction these days, it closes the gap between brands and their customers, which in such a competitive space can only be a good thing. With more people now sharing online content via their personal networks on mobile devices like the iPhone 4S, big names are turning to social platforms to promote their products.
Analytics firm ShareThis conducted a study back in June and found that consumers are now almost twice more likely to click through and share web content via a mobile phone than if they were using a desktop.
Google’s social media platform first launched back in 2011 but over the past few months it has really started to come into its own.
Between November 2012 and April 2013 social tool SearchMetrics found that engagement on Google+ increased 19% every month. Theoretically, if the site sustains these figures then it could be witnessing more than 1000 billion shares a month by 2016.
Many users don’t enjoy being bombarded with ads and Google+’s lack of them is no doubt one of the reasons behind its success. Bradley Horowitz, Google+ vice president, said: “We don’t need ads to make next week’s payroll. “It’s much more useful (and less annoying) to users to show social recommendations instead of ads. Jamming ads and agendas into user streams is frustrating. That’s not the way the world works.”
Instead, Google advertises via the personalised search results Google+ users get when they use Google search. Whether this alternative method will pay off remains to be seen, but if it starts witnessing the same level of daily activity like Facebook, users may start to see a big change.
Right now Facebook is probably one of the most important fields for brands trying to increase their online sales conversions. Online marketing agency Brafton recently found that 84% of Internet shoppers engage on social media sites before buying. Facebook currently stands as the most popular network for this.
During the second quarter of 2013 Facebook reported improved revenue and profit as it continues to push mobile-optimised advertising. The service first began showing mobile ads to its users last spring, and in just over a year these ads now account for 41% of Facebook’s total advertising revenue.
On average adverts now make up around 5% of stories within a users’ newsfeed. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, said: “Nearly half a million people use Facebook on their phones every day and soon we’ll have more revenue on mobile than on desktop. “This progress is the result of investments we started making more than a year ago.” The site records 751 million monthly active users on its mobile platform from all corners of the globe, and this is a figure that looks set to soar over the coming years. Increased mobile activity means billions of pounds every year in commerce, which can only be a positive thing for Facebook and advertisers alike.
When it comes to mobile shares Twitter is one of the top-performing channels. It is a mobile-first company, which means that globally it has more users on the mobile platform than the web. The social network is a great way for companies to reach out to their customers and it has even been found that those who follow brands on Twitter are more likely to buy and recommend the products its sells.
Facebook’s success in mobile advertising is no doubt going to provide a model for sites like Twitter. In fact, it is already seeing a surge in the number of adverts that appear inside mobile news feeds. According to Dick Costolo, Twitter CEO, on some days these ads can account for more than half of the company’s revenue.
The growth of social media is staggering, with some 55% of the world’s mobile users now classing their smartphones as their main source of internet access – a figure which is only going to increase as technology becomes more advanced and the choice of mobile phone deals increases.
Facebook’s strategy certainly looks to be leading the way for its competitors and will likely continue to do so for some time. Luis Caballero, chief operating officer of media-buying firm Blinq Media LLX, said more advertisers will start to shift their budgets to Facebook. In June he predicted that marketers increased their mobile advertising budgets for Facebook’s mobile app to around 24%. “Advertisers are definitely going heavier on Facebook right now”, he said.
But that’s not to say the likes of Twitter, Google+, and of course, the many other social platforms, can’t compete. As the number of mobile users across these networks rises it won’t take too long for big names brands to start to get on board as well.
OSM would like to thank Sarah Hazelwood of Dialaphone for her insight into when mobiles meet social media.