Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
March 8, 2010 9:26 PM

The Lines Continue To Blur (At Breakneck Speed)

Some still look sideways when thinking about mobile. Some are just kidding themselves. Our world is changing faster and faster.

The writing is on the wall. Marketing Charts had a fascinating news item today entitled, Mobile Facebook, Twitter Growth Explodes, which stated:

"In January 2010, 25.1 million mobile users accessed Facebook via their mobile browser, up 112% from 11.8 million mobile users in January 2009. While only 4.7 million mobile users accessed Twitter from their mobile browser in January 2010, this represented 347% growth from 1.05 million mobile users in January 2009."

It's easy to say the shift is subtle (especially when you look at the amount of people who own a BlackBerry, iPhone or Nexus One compared to those who are simply "online"), but it's happening fast, and it's not just about having a mobile version of your website (more on that here: The End Of Big Website Builds). What's happening is that consumers aren't thinking about your online website and your mobile website, they're simply looking to access content and platforms wherever they are and however they want to.

It's not about the kids (at all).

"Despite the stereotype of teens spending every waking moment on a mobile device, Nielsen data suggests their parents actually spend more time performing mobile web surfing. Only 7% of mobile social networking activity was represented by 13-to-17-year-olds and only 16% by 18-to-24-year-olds in December 2009. The leaders in mobile social networking activity are 35-to-54-year-olds, who accounted for 36% of mobile social network usage in December 2009. Close behind them were 25-to-34-year-olds, who performed 34% of the month's mobile social networking activity. Users ages 55 and up combined for the remaining 7%."

What do you think these numbers are going to look like in 12 months time? What about 24 months?

Are you (and your business) ready for this?

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Candy Beauchamp
    Mitch Joel

    Interesting stats, but I don't find it all that surprising. Those of us that fall into that 25-54 age groups seem to be driving a lot of the mobile technologies and technology in general - look at the people behind Twitter, Facebook, Wordpress - and others - they all fall within that 30-something age group. I see kids on there, but their use seems to be limited - most are busy texting directly with the friends from what I've seen. I think our age group is more social in groups for some reason. Of course, as we get older, the next generation will be in that age group and probably driving the technology.

    Rambling a bit :)

    Reply
  • Posted by braddahmike
    Mitch Joel

    Interesting post, as for myself, just within the past year I've finally gotten into the "smartphone" world and typically I'll go home at night and never open my laptop. Especially with the various search apps available, I don't have to get on my laptop. Thus, I really believe the spread of the smartphone is key in the high mobile adoption...and with those January numbers it looks like Christmas was a good time to get one!

    In regards to the stats about teenagers and social networks...I wonder if there's a correlation between Moms & Dads increase on social networks to teenager's decrease. It used to be that social networks were their playgrounds. I must admit...that when my dad joined FB, the coolness factor went down! In fact my 18 yr old sister won't even friend my dad, because she doesn't want him to know who she's communicating to/with.

    Reply
  • Posted by Ian M Rountree
    Mitch Joel

    I'd say this is especially powerful info for media companies.

    If you're not developing for the mobile web - in all its forms: iPhone apps, BlackBerry apps, Android, WebOS, even (ugh) WAP pages... Are you really doing your clients all the service you could be?

    There's always been the kerfuffle around different frameworks. ColdFusion, .NET, Flash versus JavaScript and so on. I can't be the only one seeing a lack of weight behind the mobile argument for media creation companies, especially design firms.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    The real question we need to ask is: how will it be before mobile browsing is a basic free function on all cell phones sold in North America?

    As the items become cheaper and more and more user-friendly, these numbers have nowhere to go but up. Within a few years, we will be talking about how many people are not browsing websites online, and thinking that the number is too high.

    Reply
  • Posted by Phil Simon
    Mitch Joel

    This will only continue, what the adoption of tool such as mobile business intelligence and other "work-related" uses for these devices. I'm not going to predict the future but I don't see how these trends abate.

    Reply
  • Posted by Whitney Hoffman
    Mitch Joel

    It;s the data on site access and mobile access with the over 65 set that's truly amazing- Facebook is in 5th place and climbing. Let me know if you need the reference points- I have them bookmarked.

    Reply
  • Posted by Philippe Carrier
    Mitch Joel

    My question is: Where are the folks 13-24 going with their mobiles if it's not Facebook and Twitter? And I don't mean than they need to be on Facebook... but I would like to know, other than texting, where they're going as that is what's next for the rest of us.

    Reply
  • Posted by Matthew Storm
    Mitch Joel

    It’s true that the numbers are rising in terms of people in several age brackets contacting businesses through social media monitoring. Monitoring these channels can provide real-time and transparent feedback for the customer-centric organization.

    What most people don’t realize is that excluding customer interaction at brick and mortar locations, the most common communication touchpoint is still the phone --and monitoring these interactions for customer feedback is easy! Most companies have been using recorded interactions in the contact center for “coaching and quality purposes” for years; however, developments technology has made these interactions searchable based on the conversation. The spoken words between your employees and your customers speak volumes about likes and dislikes, their propensity to churn and concerns, your competition and even great detail about your product or service.

    The question is, can you find out what your customers are saying and use it?

    Reply
  • Posted by j bednar
    j bednar

    Very interesting stats. What I think is clear, is that the people who can afford smartphones + data plans are the surfers. Most teens/kids have hefty text plans, but a robust data plan (in Canada anyway) gets pricey when Mom or Dad is paying the tab.
    Consider the number of 25+ mobile users whose handset is corporate paid.
    The younger generation simply can't afford to mobile surf the way someone 25+ can. It's not that they don't want to, or are somewhere else.

    Reply
  • Posted by Octavian Mihai
    Mitch Joel

    I guess it's all about knowing your audience. And providing your information / brand experience on their access points. Just wrote a post about it.

    Armano made a nice graphic on why teens don't tweet.

    Also not sure the stats help too much. For me 35-to-54-year-olds are not a market segment and it's pretty useless.

    Not sure any normal person thinks in term of Facebook on mobile... The device is just a window to their profile. It could be on their fridge and could care less.

    Marketers tend to overthink these things.

    Good post, awesome podcast. Cheers.

    Reply
  • Posted by Rasul Sha'ir
    Mitch Joel

    Mobile users "accessed" twitter and facebook via mobile apps? What does that tell us? Hmmm, reading that stat, doesn't say anything. When it comes to Twitter I think there should should be a much more sophisticated look at the numbers - http://themetricsystem.rjmetrics.com/2010/01/26/new-data-on-twitters-users-and-engagement/ Now Facebook has proven to continuously be a very strong online social network. And now Foursquare is the new "shiny object". Let's see if any of these "digital media tools are doing anything significant in 5 years. I remember when MySpace was all the rage. It seems as if the echo chamber keeps jumping from one hot tech start up to the next.

    Reply
  • Posted by Tommyismyname
    Mitch Joel

    I'd say in less than 5 years the mobile device is going to be the primary method for web access... and that sort of shift is mind boggling, if you think about it.

    On the grand scheme of things, Apps and really smart phones are still only in their infancy. Which means we have only scratched the surface. Having what is essentially a mini computer in your pocket is going to have a fundamental impact on the way we interact with our every day world. Don't believe me? check out site http://stickybits.com where people are able to leave messages on bar codes... if something like this catches on, it opens up a whole new wave of communication.

    The question is, are we as people really ready to have the entire world in our pockets and our imagination at our fingertips?

    Reply
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