Are Smartphone Owners The Sweet Spot For Social
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Published March 2010. © 2010 Interpret, LLC
Are Smartphone Owners The Sweet Spot For Social Networks?
Catalyst: Increasingly, social networkers are multi-platform, moving seamlessly between their PC and
1) How much more engaged are smartphone and messaging phone owners in social networking
than basic and non-cell phone owners?
2) What types of activities are smartphone and messaging phone owners most likely to be engaged
in on a social network?
Interpret Insight: While almost two-thirds of cell phone owners are also active social networkers,
behavior is typically driven by type of phone and age co-hort. Smartphone users are more likely to be
engaged in professional and commercial activities on social networks, while messaging phone owners
are more likely to engage in peer-to-peer communication, discovery and sharing activities.
Mobile Phone Owners Are Also Social Networkers
Over the past decade, consumer behavior has been deeply impacted by two parallel technological
phenomena – mobile phone adoption and online social networking. Indeed, the two are often
inextricably intertwined, with consumers accessing their Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin accounts via
their cell phone. According to Interpret’s New Media Measure™, 85 percent of consumers currently own
a cell phone (fig. 1). Additionally, over three in five consumers (62 percent) have a social networking
profile and visit it at least once every two weeks. There is also a great deal of overlap between these
groups, with 64 percent of cell phone owners also reporting that they are an active social networker.
Smartphone Users Most Likely To Use Social Networks As Their Primary Means of Communication
Consumers who have a smartphone or messaging phone are much more likely to be dependent on
social networks as their primary means of communication than consumers who own a basic cell phone
or don’t own a cell phone at all. Interpret defines a smartphone user as a phone that has full Internet
access, web browsing capabilities, and can install applications. Operating systems such as Blackberry,
Apple’s iPhone, Palm WebOS, Google Android and Windows Mobile are some examples of smartphones.
In contrast, messaging phones are defined as a less advanced phone but do include a QWERTY
keyboard, can receive email and connect to the Internet. When asked if they agree or disagree with the
statement “Social networking sites (MySpace, Facebook, etc.) have become my primary means of
communicating with my friends,” with zero indicating they completely disagree and ten indicating they
completely agree, the chart above presents an index of respondents who stated a seven or above (fig.
2). With 100 equaling the average of all participants, smartphone users are over a third more likely to
report they agree with that stat