Almost half (44%) of UK mobile phone subscribers belong to an online social network and of this group, 25% use their handset for social networking-related activities, according to new findings from Neilsen Mobile.
Around 812,000 Britons each month, or 1.7% of all UK mobile subscribers, visited a social networking website using their mobile during the first quarter of 2008
Facebook is the most popular site for mobile social networking, being visited by over half a million Britons (557,000) from their mobiles, or 9% of all UK Mobile Internet subscribers.
It’s interesting news for marketers increasingly looking for new ways to reach media savvy young consumers.
Client Services Manager at Nielsen Mobile, Kent Ferguson, said, “Social networking is already a global phenomenon, and mobile could be the next big thing in the space.
“Large numbers of people are interacting with their social networking profiles while they’re on the move.”
He added, “There could be increased consumer demand for mobile social networking driven by the flat fee price plans offered by the leading operators that give subscribers unlimited mobile Internet access.”
The four most popular social networks on the mobile mirror the four most popular on the PC: Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and Windows Live Spaces.
However travel social network WAYN is a one to watch. It has the strongest performance on the mobile compared to the PC, ranking 7th on mobile Internet compared to 21st on PC Internet
European Internet Analyst at Nielsen Online, Alex Burmaster, explained, “The increasingly competitive nature of social networking online is being replicated in the mobile space.
“The leading players remain the same but networks such as WAYN and Faceparty have considerably improved on their PC ranking in the mobile world.”
He added, “In an effort to differentiate their offerings and pull ahead all the networks are looking to what the mobile medium can offer – particularly when it comes to attracting 15-24 year olds, a group highly representative amongst social networking addicts.”
One in five (21%) Britons who use their mobile for social networking activities, use it to add friends. Bur most popular activity remain sending messages and mail (55 per cent).
Burmaster concluded, “It’s all about adding value. By tapping into the key elements of mobile phone activity, such as text and images, the social networks can increase engagement and ‘stickiness’ amongst their members as well as maximising audience numbers and activity on their own site.
For example, within minutes of a social networker making a new friend whilst out and about, they can add them to their digital friends list. This simultaneously enhances both the phone and the network as an extremely important modern-day social utility.”
Facebook was recently reported to be in talks with Nokia in a bid to drive it’s online offering.
Meanwhile Bebo has struck a deal with Intercasting Corp. to allow the site’s 40 million users to produce and share content on their mobiles through the Anthem platform.
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