Social networking through mobile devices is the fastest growing use for smartphones, according to digital analytics firm comScore. The number of people using social networking applications on their smartphones has grown by 240% since last year.
What’s the story?
comScore runs a service called MobiLens, which gathers data on the mobile market for advertisers, handset makers and mobile publishers. Today’s release is a snippet from that service, focused on mobile application mobile browser use. The info today puts the different uses for apps and browsers in categories like Social Networking, Weather, Travel and General Reference – it checks how many people used their smartphone for those purposes during April 2010, and compares it to April 2009. These results are completely US-centric, and some of them are pretty surprising.
Social networking is by far the biggest winner when it comes to applications – the audience ballooned by 240%, from 4.2 million in 2009 to 14.5 million in 2010. Social networking through the mobile browser also grew, but by a comparatively much smaller 88%
Social networking may be growing the fastest, but it’s not the biggest yet. More people use their mobile browsers for search than for networking, and more people use their applications for checking the weather or maps.
Overall, the use of mobile application is growing far faster than the use of mobile browsers. Every single category grew by over 100% when it came to applications – whereas the majority of mobile browsing categories grew by less than 90%
The vast majority of smartphone owners use their devices for apps and web browsing. During April 2010, 78% used their browser (up 31% on 2009) and 80% used apps (up 28% on 2009).
The only negative number on the entire release is for how much app and browser usage happens on feature phones. The number of people using their feature phones for that kind of thing shrank by 7.4%, as more people migrated to smartphones.
What we think?
I can’t say I’m surprised that the smartphone-owning audience is learning to get more use out of their devices. More and better services are released every day. One thing this definitely shows is that applications are offering a more tightly optimised social networking experience than mobile browsers currently can.