One of the most significant stats we recently released from the latest iteration of The Social Habit (you have a copy, yes?) was this gem on mobile/social behavior:
The number of Americans 12+ who check their social networks in any manner "several times per day" has grown from 39 million in 2010 to approximately 58 million today--and I'm convinced that one of the main drivers for this increase has been the hockey-stick growth of smartphone penetration in this country. As the graph above illustrates, nearly a third of mobile-enabled social networkers check their social networks via mobile "several times per day," and over 40% do so at least daily. These are astonishingly high numbers in that mobile social usage on this scale simply didn't exist just 2-3 years ago.
Today, however, half of all mobile phone users have smartphones in their pockets, and that is changing mainstream consumer behavior in a most disruptive fashion. For the Facebooks and Twitters of the world, these disruptions are threatening the very stability of their business model. After all, it isn't just that we are now checking our social networks in different places--we are checking them differently. The interactions are shorter and more frequent, and we are pushing content out to these networks often without ever visiting these sites at all (and this, as much as anything, is why Facebook bought Instagram.)
Right now, Facebook Mobile is an ad-free experience--and introducing ads into that experience in any traditional sense is likely to have unpleasant consquences, which of course is why they are testing paid placement for status updates. Disruptive tech changes behavior, and our tolerance for advertising on mobile platforms is surely not what it is at the desktop.
We are going to be developing dozens of key insights into mobile/social behavior for brands, marketers and agencies over the next several months in our upcoming Social Habit research series. But tomorrow, Edison will release a brand new report on Smartphone Consumers that we'll be giving away, along with several key implications of that data. Watch this space on Thursday, June 21st for more!