Social Networks in the Palm of Your Hand:
How Mobile Devices are Transforming Social Media
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Published December 2009. © 2009 Interpret, LLC
Social Networks in the Palm of Your Hand: How Mobile Devices are Transforming
Catalyst: Consumers are increasingly using mobile devices to access social networking sites, but is this
trend affecting the way social networks are being used?
Overall Interpret Insight:
Mobile social networkers are valuable consumers. Compared to non-mobile social
networkers, they spend more time on social networking sites and are more highly engaged with
content on these sites. While mobile social networkers have successfully created a new touch-
point for businesses, the majority of their social networking behavior continues to take place on
computers. Social networking companies can further connect with mobile users by tailoring
websites and applications to better fit their existing needs. Mobile social networking is also a
major opportunity for companies to expand their online social media strategy from the
computer; however, companies will also be required to distinguish mobile from computer-based
social networking tactics, given that the context of interacting with a cell phone creates an
entirely different experience.
• What does the current mobile social networking environment look like and who are the
• Do the needs and behaviors of mobile and desktop social networkers differ or is mobile
social networking just desktop social networking on-the-go?
• How can companies leverage the evolving mobile social networks to achieve their
• 59% of Americans are active social networkers (i.e. participate in social networking
activity for at least one hour per week), and 10.3% of these active social networkers
access these sites from a mobile device on a weekly basis. While Facebook, MySpace
and Twitter are the top three sites accessed by both mobile and non-mobile social
networkers, almost twice as many mobile social networkers access Twitter (27%
compared to 15%). Twitter is an example of effective mobile-social network integration.
• Mobile social networkers are more active users compared to non-mobile social
networkers, both in terms of hours spent on social networking sites (7.2 vs. 6.0), as well
as the variety of activities conducted on the sites. In addition, mobile social networkers
are more susceptible to advertising on social media, as 20% have clicked on an
advertisement or sponsor on a social networking page in the past month (compared to
11% for non-mobile social networkers).
• Companies have a major opportunity to reach consumers in ways and at times that
were previously not possible. For social networking companies, there are two major
opportunities: convincing more active social networkers to go mobile and increasing
mobile activity among mobile social networkers.