Social Media, Social Networks, Social Commerce … there is no escaping social these days especially after the launch of Google+. We communicate with the consumers via wall posts and tweets, build our business network in LinkedIn instead of meeting face-to-face and handle customer service via Twitter. But maybe we are right to become so obsessed with Social Media.
According to an European comScore MobiLens study, the mobile social networking has increased 44% in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK during 2011. What is even more interesting is that more than 40% of the European Mobile Social Networking users are engaging with brands.
Snapshot of the 2011 European mobile market
- UK and Spain are leading countries in Smartphone usage with 46.9% and 46.3% penetration respectively, compared to the European average of 40.1%. Germany has the lowest Smartphone penetration with 33%.
- British and Spanish mobile users also use non pre-installed apps above European average of 34.5%, UK with 44.9% and Spain with 35.4%. Germans have the lowest percentage with 30.4%.
- 46.9% of the mobile users in the UK and 35.3% in France use browser, compared to the European average of 35%. Germans users browse the least with 28.4%.
- 33.8% of the British , 30.1% of the Italian and 28.7% of the Spanish users play mobile games, compared to the European average of 26.5%. French users play games the least with 15.6%.
- Sending text messages is the most popular mobile activity across all five European markets, the average reaching 82.9%.
- 32.6% of the Spanish mobile users listen to music, above European average of 25.9%. Only 23.3% of the French use mobile to listen to music.
- 35.1% of the UK mobile users access news, way above European average of 18.5%. Germans are the least interested on news, with 15.7%.
- 35.1% of the UK mobile users access social networks and blogs well above average of 23.5%. Germans were the least social with 17.3%
Increasing mobile social network addiction
55.1 million European mobile users accessed social networks or blogs via mobile devices in September 2011 only, representing 23.5% of the total mobile audience. Not only did the mobile social media usage nearly double, but 47% of the users accessed social networks and blogs daily.
“Over the past year we have seen social networking use grow rapidly among mobile users across Europe, driven largely by the growth in smartphone adoption, making it easier than ever for users to stay connected and engage in social activities while on-the-go,” stated Jeremy Copp, comScore Europe vice president for Mobile. “More notably, the rate of growth in daily social networking usage has surpassed even the rate of growth in total social networking adoption among mobile users, suggesting that the behavior is becoming even more ingrained into people’s daily mobile lives. As social networks continue to invest in improving the user experience on mobile devices and tablets, it will be interesting to see how social behaviours on the mobile platform further evolve.”
Interestingly, while most of the European mobile users accessed social networking sites via browser (31.3 million), the usage of social network mobile apps doubled to 24.2 million.
Mobile Social Networking Activities
Finally good news for marketers: 44% of the mobile social networking users admitted reading posts from brands and about 27% reported receiving offers, coupons or deals on their mobiles.
What comes to other activities, 74% of the users read posts from people they know and 62% updated their status. Peer recommendation also has an important role with 35% of the users posting links to websites and 49% of the users following posted links to websites.
Leading European mobile social networks
In 2011 Facebook increased its European mobile audience 54% up to 39 million. This represents 71% of the EU5 mobile social networking audience positioning Facebook as a clear leader. However, even if the social network gathered the most users, it did not experience as big growth as its competitors: Twitter grew its mobile audience 115% up to 8.6 million, 2.2 million unique users accessed LinkedIn increasing network’s mobile users by 134% and the Spanish social network Tuenti grew by 60% gathering 2.3 million unique users.
Go social, think local
The results highlight the importance of Social Media in European brand communication strategy. With localized mobile site and social network pages brands can increase user engagement and user referrals, and the little snapshot of the social media activities can provide some insight to the best tactics in each country. While building a game app seems to work in the UK and Spain, a mobile game might not be very successful in France.
Reaching European audience is tricky because of the different languages, cultures and customs, but for brand to engage with the European audience, social media seems like a good starting point.