Why 2010 Will Be The Remembered As The Year Mobile Social Media Came Of Age
2010 is going to be the year Internet usage on mobile phones really takes off. We hear that at the start of every single year don’t we? We have been hearing it for as long as I can remember but I have reason to believe that this is the year that it will really take off. Now let me start by saying I am no mobile expert (If you want to read the smart guys in the space then Pat Phelan and James Whatley are a great place to start) but I do follow trends very closely and talk of mobile seems to be taking over the web. Rather than digging in to the technical reasons, new phones or platform releases I wanted to look at it from a social media perspective and see some of the trends that are emerging in the mobile space and how they will shape the market and what businesses and brands need to be looking out for.
The App Stores
Apple changed the game in July 2008 when it launched it’s app store with 500 apps that consumers could either download for free or pay a small fee for. Fast forward to today and there are nearly 150,000 applications that do everything from letting you access Twitter to playing ping pong. The success of the app store took even Apple by surprise and other manufacturers have been quick to follow suit with the Android app store and The Ovi app store form Nokia following up. The main reason services like Twitter have had such success is because people have been able to access them through 3rd party apps which has turned a phone in to a far more useful tool and most of the breaking news stories or pictures of events come from mobile devices using apps. Apps mean that you don’t have to fire up a browser and in some instances (Facebook) the apps built for mobile platforms are actually a lot easier to use than the websites themselves.
Last year the media were obsessed with Twitter. Log on to any of the top tech blogs and that would be all that you could see. We are only 6 weeks in to 2010 but the very same seems to be happening with media all over the world with regards mobile at the moment. Log on to any of the top tech blogs and the chances are you will be confronted by a constant stream of stories about mobile including platform releases, new apps, new phones, new operating systems etc etc. I am personally getting bored of all the coverage as I have my 1 phone and don’t plan on changing soon but the key influencers in the market are talking mobile, mobile and more mobile at the moment.
You Want Some Stats?
The best way to back up the explosive growth in mobile usage is of course some good old fashioned stats so here they are…
iPhone Handset sales per quarter in millions
Google Android Handset Sales
The Social Element
People love SMS and have done for years so you don’t have to be a genius to work out that if we could come up with faster phones and better ways of communicating that the end user would embrace them. With faster phones, apps and better user interfaces uses have piled in and now communicate through email, twitter, Facebook and many other services. You only have to look at the 100 Million Facebook users accessing the site through their mobiles to see that it has come of age. We are only at the start of this journey and as faster phones come about people will share more and more content including photos and videos and engage with other people’s content in a whole new way through their mobiles.
We are at the very start of an exciting new space which is location based services. All of the early adaptors are on services like Foursquare and Gowalla that are location based games and the early signs are that they will take off and could crucially have some massively attractive options for advertisers. The fact that applications and services can now access your exact location through your phone opens up a whole new set of possibilities from functional GPS maps to the more exciting augmented reality services that put a layer over the real world that you are standing in. We are in my opinion only scratching at the surface of location awareness and this will open up in to a much bigger field over the coming year especially as a huge amount of advertising revenue floods in to the space.
It is clear that social media and in particular services like Twitter and Facebook are fueling the growth in mobile internet usage and coupled with faster phones and new technology it makes for a very exciting year ahead. Not everybody in the world communicates through a computer (although many of us do) but nearly everybody has a phone that they will use to communicate with many times a day. As the technology advances and more and more people have internet in the palm of their hand at all times the possibilities around mobile and social media in particular are endless. Excpect to see plenty more hype and lots of money pouring in to this space over the next 12 months. There is no doubt that 2010 will be the year of mobile internet.
Some Good Additional Reading
Here are some good articles on the subject that are well worth a read…
Will 2010 be mobile advertisingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s big year?
Daft iPhone App Stats
Mobile Internet Growth Tied To Facebook, Twitter
UK Mobile internet growth 8x greater than PC-based internet growth
Mobile Internet Research Report Reveals Massive Mobile Internet Growth