Mobile Behaviour Varies Globally

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US mobile users do the most social networking, European mobile users text the most, and Japanese mobile users are the most connected, according to new comScore MobiLens data.

US Leads in Mobile Social Networking, IM
A comScore cross-market analysis of mobile activities in the US, Europe and Japan revealed significant differences among consumers by geography. Out of the three markets, in June 2010 social networking/blogs reached the greatest percentage of mobile users in the US at 21.3%, followed by Japan at 17% and Europe at 14.7%.

Perhaps reflecting the slower adoption of advanced mobile technology in the US as compared to other global markets, social networking and instant messaging (17% reach compared to 12.6% reach in Europe and only 3.3% reach in Japan) were the only major mobile activities where the US had a significant lead.

Europeans Text Most
Messaging methods also varied, with Europeans displaying the strongest use of text messaging with 81.7% sending a text message in June 2010, compared to 66.8% in the US and just 40.1% in Japan.

Japanese Most Connected
Mobile users in Japan were the most “connected” of the three markets, with more than 75% using connected media (browsed, accessed applications or downloaded content) in June 2010, compared to 43.7% in the US and 38.5% in Europe.

Japanese mobile users also displayed the strongest usage of both applications and browsers with 59.3% of the entire mobile population accessing their browsers in June 2010 and 42.3% accessing applications. In addition, Japanese users exhibited the highest reach in the email category at 54%.

Comparatively, 34% of mobile users in the US and 25.8% in Europe used their mobile browsers, with 31.1% in the US and 24.9% in Europe accessing applications.

Japanese Mobile Use Patterns Most Age- and Gender-Balanced
A comScore demographic analysis of mobile media users across markets showed that mobile media consumption was more balanced across age segments in Japan when compared to the US and Europe. In the US, 25-34 year olds were 44% more likely to access mobile media than an average mobile user, with 18-24 year olds 39% more likely. In Europe, 18-24 year olds represented the most-connected segment, 54% more likely to be mobile media users, while persons age 25-34 were 35% more likely.

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The US and Europe also showed greater gender disparity among mobile media audiences. Females were 9% less likely to be mobile media users in the US, while females in Europe were 16% less likely.

Twitter Scores Globally
In all three markets, the top mobile social media brand mirrored the top PC-based social networking brand, with Facebook leading in the US and Europe and Mixi leading in Japan. Local brands Gree and Mobage Town were the number two and four most-accessed social networking brands in Japan. Twitter was the only brand to be ranked in the top four in all three markets.

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Mobile Twitter Use Explodes
Mobile usage of the Twitter social network has increased more than 60% in the past five months, according to data from Twitter. The total number of mobile Twitter users grew 62% between April and September 2010, according to statistics compiled by Twitter. In addition, since that time, the number of Twitter users who start out using Twitter via mobile device has risen from 5% to 16%. Furthermore, close to half (46%) of all Twitter users at least occasionally access the network via mobile device.

The Influence of Mobile on Social Marketing’s Future

Mobile platforms and location-based networks could take social marketing to the next level

As the increase in smart device ownership helps put the mobile web in the pocket of more and more Americans, mobile will play a greater role in all forms of content consumption—including social media.

US marketers surveyed in June 2010 by PRWeek and MS&L Group believed mobile social would have important consequences for their brand. Asked which social media efforts would have the greatest effect on their company, 17% said more usage of social media on mobile platforms and a further 12% cited uptake of mobile location-based social networking.

Social Media Efforts with the Most Impact* on Company/Brand, June 2010 (% of US marketers)

Another 4% said investing more in Twitter would be their most important effort. While a majority of users access Twitter from their desktop, the microblogging service is a major example of greater use of social media from mobile platforms. According to the company’s blog, mobile usage of the site rose 62% in about four months, and mobile sign-ups increased from 5% of the total earlier in 2010 to 16%.

Currently, PRWeek and MS&L Group found that few US marketers were using specifically mobile-based social media tools, but the sophistication of smart devices has narrowed the distance between the desktop and mobile for many users.

Social Media Tools Used, June 2010 (% of US marketers)

Much of the marketing opportunity in going mobile lies with the ability to use location data to bring consumers timely messages when they are already nearby and possibly considering a purchase. Social media could prove a smart avenue for such efforts; while pure location-based services like foursquare remain relatively niche, Facebook has picked up location-based check-in services, and social networking has been the single biggest driver of mobile app usage and browsing over the past year.

Men More Mobile

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Men hold a dominant share in usage of many mobile technologies, according to a new study from comScore.

Men Make Up 6 in 10 US Smartphone Users
“How Women Are Shaping the Internet” indicates that in both the US and Europe, smartphone usage is dominated by men. In the US, there is a fairly consistent 60/40 split, but in Europe the skew toward male users is slightly more pronounced, hovering around 63% compared to 37%.

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comScore analysis suggests that the greater likelihood of men to be early technology adopters may explain at least part of this gender imbalance. However, comScore also says that a propensity for men to be higher wage-earners, as well as a greater share of men who have at least part of their mobile phone bill paid by their employer, could also contribute to higher male usage of more expensive smartphones.

Mobile Net Services Skew Male
Mobile Internet services (browsing, apps, and email) skew 65-70% male. However, some activities, such as playing mobile games, making ringtones, and listening to music, skew more female.

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Mobile social networking has fairly even gender usage, with women accounting for about 45% of mobile social networking activity. It is also the activity with the youngest participants, averaging 29 years old, compared to an average age of 32 for mobile games (which skews about 50% female). Unsurprisingly, more expensive activities tend to have users with an older average age, and are also more likely to skew male.

Mobile Internet Demographics Reflect Cost
The age difference between PC and mobile Internet users is indicative of the need for money when browsing on the mobile device (e.g., advanced device and data plans). Women’s adoption of mobile social networking, however, is a clear indicator that mobile Internet services are moving out of early adopter mode and into the mainstream.

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Men Spend More Time Viewing Online Video
Although gender rates for viewing online video are similar, men spend more time watching, according to other results from “How Women Are Shaping the Internet.” The study indicates that in nine countries and Hong Kong, virtually the same percentage of online males and females watch online video. In every instance, roughly 80% of both online men and women watch online video.

While rates of watching online video are similar, and in some areas women actually watch at a slightly higher rate, in all 10 areas researched by comScore men spend much more time on average watching online video than women.

In the US, men watch more than 15 hours of online video per month, roughly triple the average time spent by women. Similarly wide discrepancies exist in the other three countries where online video consumption is the heaviest: Canada, Germany, and the UK.

Mobile Users Ready for Location-Based Text Marketing

Mobile marketing is not just for smartphones

Though smartphone shipments are rising and expected to surpass shipments of feature phones in 2011, according to Morgan Stanley, feature phones are still the devices in the hands of most mobile users. An April 2010 ExactTarget study found 58% of all US internet users ages 15 and older had one, compared with 31% who had a smartphone.

That means a large swathe of mobile users cannot be reached by more sophisticated mobile marketing efforts like sponsored apps, in-app ads or campaigns on the mobile web. According to location-based advertising network 1020 Placecast, opt-in text alerts are the smart way to target a fuller mobile audience.

A May 2010 survey conducted for Placecast by Harris Interactive found that while most mobile users still have not signed up for any text alerts, there was a small rise in interest since a similar poll in 2009: 28% were at least somewhat interested in the alerts, up 2 percentage points, and 8% were extremely or very interested, up 3 percentage points. For under-35s, interest was significantly higher.

Interest in Receiving Text Alerts* from Marketers, by Age and Gender, May 2010 (% of US mobile phone users)

Those who wanted the alerts were most interested in coupons and promotions from grocery stores and restaurants. Respondents who had signed up for text alerts said it made them more likely to visit the company’s website (34%), visit the store (33%) and purchase the product being promoted, either in online (28%) or in the store (27%).

Many agreed that making those text alerts location-based, so that recipients would get the right offer at the right time, could make the channel more useful or interesting.

Attitudes Toward Location-Based Alerts, May 2010 (% of US mobile phone users*)

While awareness of location-based text alerts is still building, there is the potential to reach a broader audience than with check-in apps such as foursquare or Gowalla, which are designed with smartphone owners in mind. And despite negative attitudes of many mobile users toward SMS marketing, Placecast reports low opt-out rates among recipients.

US Mobile Navigation On the Rise

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The US mobile map audience grew 44% between April 2009 and April 2010, according to new comScore MobiLens data.

33.5M Access Mobile Maps
For the three-month period ending April 2010, 33.5 million mobile users accessed maps at least once during a month, an increase of 44% from the previous year. Visitors accessing maps one to three times per month increased 47% to 17.1 million users, while those accessing once a week increased 60% to 11.6 million users. The most frequent users, those accessing maps on a near-daily basis, climbed 9% to reach 4.8 million users.

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Smartphone, App Usage Drives Mobile Map Growth
For the three-month period ending April 2010, 26% of smartphone users accessed maps via applications, while 19% accessed maps via browser in a month. In comparison, just 2% of feature phone users accessed maps via applications, with 4% doing so via browser.

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Smartphone users drove growth in both application and browser map usage, with app access nearly tripling to 12.7 million smartphone users, while browser map access surged 93% to nearly 9 million smartphone users. The number of mobile map app users first surpassed mobile map browser users in February 2010.

Drivers Use Mobile Maps
Among those who accessed maps on their mobile devices, 87.2% did so from a car or other vehicle, with 17.2% doing so while walking, running or biking, and 16.7% while using public transit. The most utilized types of maps were graphical maps with turn-by-turn directions (60.3% of mobile maps users), followed by 50.6% using a graphical map without turn-by-turn directions and 46.8% using turn-by-turn directions without a graphical map.

European Mobile Mapping Grows 68%
Mobile mapping is also on the rise in Europe this year, with the rate of mobile mapping growing 68% between February 2009 and February 2010, according to previous comScore MobiLens data. In total, there were an average of 21.1 million users of mobile mapping and directional services in the EU5 nations of the UK, Germany, Spain, France and Italy in the three months leading to February 2010. This was a 68% increase from an average of 12.5 million EU5 mobile mapping and directional services users in the three months leading to February 2009.

Among those who accessed maps via their mobile devices for the three-month period ending February 2010, most (68.2%) accessed those services in a car or other vehicle.

Location-Based Content Draws Mobile Users

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Research from Wi-Fi provider and mobile ad server JiWire buttresses reports on the effectiveness of mobile advertising, especially in apps and location-based services.

The company found that most users of its public Wi-Fi services had downloaded at least 10 smartphone apps and about two-thirds spent more than 30 minutes a day using the applications. In addition, 63% said they “frequently” use apps that require them to give their location to serve specific content.

JiWire’s audience was somewhat less likely to say they would allow an app to access their location just to serve more relevant advertisements, but more than one-half reported they would.

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While users seem to understand the trade-off of advertising for free content, with 76% saying they prefer ad-supported, free apps to paid ones, they are more ready to disclose location-based information for improved content than just for ads.

Nearly two-fifths of respondents said they were more likely to click on a mobile ad that was tailored to their specific location, while about one-half said it would not make a difference.

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Overall, more than one-half of mobile device users studied said they had engaged with in-app advertising within the past month, either by clicking an ad, going to the advertiser’s Website or making a purchase.

The Mobile Marketing Association and Luth Research found that location-based mobile ads had the highest response rates but a low ad recall rate of 9%. More than one-quarter of US mobile content users, by contrast, reported seeing in-app advertising.