Social Networking on Mobile Devices Set to Soar
The number of people who access social networks on smartphones and other mobile devices will surpass 1.7 billion worldwide by the end of 2016, a research firm predicts. That’s more than triple the number – 550 million – projected for 2011.
For Facebook, this shift represents a serious challenge, according to ABI Research.
ABI senior analyst Aapo Markkanen said: “A huge problem for Facebook is that while on the web it is a platform, on mobile it’s just another application. To strengthen its hand in the short term, we expect Facebook to aggressively take advantage of HTML5, but in the longer term it should absolutely become a mobile operating system of its own.”
Already, Google’s social networking service, Google+, is being integrated with Android, and Twitter is being built into Apple’s iOS 5.
Dan Shey, a practice director at ABI, said: “The interesting aspect in Apple’s and Twitter’s partnership is how it can provide iPhone users with a verifiable social identity for websites and apps. That gives developers a lot of scope to innovate in areas such as authentication, personalization and advertising. It’s a hint of things to come.”
Here are some other hints of things to come:
• A recent study by Edison Research and Arbitron found that 56 percent of frequent social network users in the United States own smartphones, and 64 percent of frequent social networkers have used a mobile phone to update their status on at least one social network.
• A recent study by NM Incite indicated that 37 percent of social media users in the United States access content from their mobile devices, with social networking apps ranking at No. 3 among the most used smartphone apps. Facebook is the most popular social networking app across all operating systems, according to the study.