Social media networks have emerged as a powerful force in recent years, and most of us are far from strangers to the fact. But as we look back at the year just passed, we see that just like technology, social media is changing.
It’s no longer limited to heartwarming status updates, personal photo ops, and riveting autobiographical installments. These days, social networks are considered an effective tool to drive commerce and, perhaps more importantly, an increasingly popular service on various mobile apps. In a nutshell, social media means business.
So, just how powerful is social media on mobile? Herculean, it turns out. Over 4.2 billion people worldwide access social media via their mobile devices. This means that virtually every mobile device on earth is used as a gateway to social media channels. And that’s only the beginning. Let’s have a look at some additional facts and figures about the leading social networks in the western world and how they panned out on mobile in 2013.
The social media giant that dominates the social network arena is also (surprise surprise) the most popular app of all times. A staggering 751 million people access Facebook from mobile devices, accounting for roughly 65% of all Facebook users. This surge in the percentage of mobile users also contributes to the growing usage frequency stats—one in four Facebook users check their account more than five times a day. Kudos, Mr. Zuckerberg… Any app that logs those kinds of numbers is clearly leveraging mobile to the max.
What’s more, the Facebook domain has become a stepping stone to stardom for many a business. Thanks in no small part to its ubiquitous connectivity and regularity of user logins, Facebook has hosted over 10 million apps, many of which have attained viral popularity and generated impressive revenues. A good number of these apps went on to become native mobile apps in their own right, contributing to the exponential growth of the app industry. And it’s not just about the big hitters—Facebook holds immense potential for small businesses as well. Just ask the residents of Obermutten, a tiny village in eastern Switzerland. Thanks to their unique, if not ingenious campaign that offered to post a picture of every Facebook fan on their wall, they created a social buzz that increased visits to their tourism websites by a whopping 250%.
Yet another addictive social networking phenomenon that keeps a gabby generation of on-the-go users routinely engaged.
Giving the folks who brought us Facebook a run for their money (they can afford it…), more than 60% of Twitter’s 500 million+ users access the service from mobile devices. We’re talking over 400 million tweets sent every day across the globe. Twitter also manages an enviable Active Users/All Users ratio: over 55% (288 million and counting) of Twitter users are regular tweeters.
The secret to their prosperity? It’s hard to say exactly, but smart promotional tactics, for one, don’t hurt. Twitter’s memorable campaigns and marketing strategies have become the talk of the digital town. Take Oreo, for example, the first responder to the great Super Bowl power outage of 2013. The cookie baron’s brilliant knee-jerk reaction to the blackout—“You can still dunk in the dark…”—generated 12,000 retweets within two hours of its launch. And it doesn’t end with Oreo. This case study demonstrates Twitter’s prodigious success as an established immediate-response service. To add glamour to glory, the company is no less renowned for its epic long-term media awareness campaigns—Exhibit A: Batkid.
It’s true what they say about conformity—the largest professional social network in the world has joined its more casual cousins and continues to gain popularity on mobile. And they didn’t just do it to fit in. Trade shows, events, and meetings often require a quick search and information gathering, and making fast connections to generate value for any company is of equal importance. Upwards of 238 million LinkedIn users have created 1.5 million groups and 3 million official company pages to date. Of these users, 27% use their mobile devices to engage on LinkedIn, either via the service’s native app or using mobile web.
The Vestas energy campaign, one of the biggest and most diverse of its kind to be launched on LinkedIn, established the company’s advantage as a superior branding solution for any business.
Finally, a mobile social network created specifically for mobile. And loyal fans will be delighted to know that the photo-and-video-sharing network continues to thrive well into its 2012 $1 billion Facebook acquisition. With a remarkable 900% year-on-year growth record, Instagram now has 130 million users, with over 5 million photos uploaded every day. And as if Instagram’s servers didn’t have their hands (or clouds…) full, they field something like 1,000 comments with every passing second. Just as noteworthy is the fact that the service allows companies to enrich their brands with values that fit. To fully and properly grasp the power of Instagram, for example, just take a look at Red Bull’s extreme-sports page or Adidas’s auxiliary site for original and new merchandise. Huge engagement, commendable user satisfaction, and above all, definitive proof that mobile will ultimately become the top digital platform around.
Tip of the iceberg, as they say, but a word limit is a word limit, and we prefer our readers make it to the finish line awake. There are countless other social networks at large, including the Asia-dominant Qzone, Google+, and Tumblr, to name a few. To cap off, here are some industry leader stats.
These networks use their size to generate considerable revenue from advertising, as demonstrated below.
So as you bid your final farewell to 2013 and welcome its successor with vigor and resolve, keep this in mind: given the numbers, one thing’s for sure: if you’re a business venturing into mobile in this day and age, you have to embrace the enormous impact of social networks. Harnessing the power of social to keep your business in the forefront is not a mere recommendation anymore—it’s an absolute must. Take it away, and have a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2014!
This post was contributed to The Conduit Mobile Blog by guest blogger Jonathan Raveh. Jonathan is the Director of Publishers at Appnext, a growing monetization and discovery network for mobile and social media. He also writes for TheMarker (online edition) and is the publisher of Mobilize, a mobile-oriented news and business blog.
pretty much exactly what we all predicted the numbers would look like
How do 4.2B people access social media via their mobile device when Internet World Stats estimates there are ~2.5B internet users in the entire world?
Maybe the figure refers to the number of people to EVER access social media via mobile. its a stretch, but it’s possible. This figure also appears here: