MySpace and Facebook aren’t the only players
Although the base of mobile social network users in the US is currently small, it is growing quickly. The percentage of mobile phone users who said they accessed social networks from their handset jumped 182% from September 2007 to October 2008, according to a study conducted by The Kelsey Group and ConStat.
Social networking by mobile phone is even more prevalent in other countries. itsmy.com is a worldwide mobile-only social network based in Germany with 2.5 million members. More than four out of 10 of its users have never used a (PC) online social network, according to a study it conducted in December 2008.
Sabine Irrgang, the company’s founder and COO, said handset users could check the social network even more often than PC-based social networkers.
“Almost 12% of the itsmy.com community members are still in bed when they check their personal messages for the first time each day,” said Ms. Irrgang, in a statement. “A mobile social networking portal is the place where you can reach and will meet people in the future.”
The mobile-only orientation helps limit use of copyrighted content on social networks, since such content is usually far larger than the snapshots or text updates typically sent by phone. It also allows itsmy.com to offer more-targeted advertising to marketers.
eMarketer forecasts that by 2012 over 800 million users worldwide will access and participate in social networks via their mobile device, up from 82 million in 2007. Although the total mobile social network user base in 2012 will be under 20% of the worldwide mobile user population, it is likely that these users will have a disproportionate impact on marketing, media and mobile communications because creating and sharing digital content (user-generated and professional) forms much of the social networking experience.