Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Social Networking Market for Mobile Users


Social networking activity is growing among mobile Internet users around the world. As one of the primary ways mobile users communicate with one another, it is proving a significant driver of Internet usage on wireless communication devices.

eMarketer predicts that the number of mobile users accessing social networks from their mobile devices will reach 607.5 million worldwide by 2013 -- representing 43 percent of global mobile Internet users. In the U.S. market, mobile social net users will total 56.2 million by 2013 -- accounting for 45 percent of the mobile Internet user population.

"Combining two much-hyped, but still-emerging channels -- mobile Internet access services and social networks -- results in a developing opportunity for marketers," said Noah Elkin, eMarketer senior analyst.

The big three social network destinations of Facebook, MySpace and Twitter dominate the U.S. mobile space, as they do the desktop PC world.

Location-based networks have not yet reached critical mass, but are worth monitoring as they work to link people, places and interests. In addition, location-based services can also be used in other contexts to help marketers target social network users with relevant information and offers.

But, the combination of two emerging channels means that estimating the market for mobile social advertising and marketing is premature, despite the apparent promise of targeting this user base.

Marketers are preparing to incorporate both environments into their marketing mix. But since both channels are still evolving, combining mobile and social nets together puts many marketers into a gray area from both a budgetary and oversight perspective, and investments remain small and experimental.