Social media: Mobile usage soars, Facebook maintains appeal

Home Inside FCNews Social media: Mobile usage soars, Facebook maintains appeal

June 20/27, 2016; Volume 30, Number 26

By Jenna Lippin

People are spending more time immersed in Google, Facebook and iMessage, among other apps. That’s according to comScore’s Cross Platform Future in Focus 2016 study, which shows more than half the time spent on social media in 2015 was via smartphone apps. “The smartphone app is the dominant platform in the U.S., now accounting for 61% of all social media time spent, up [8%] from last year,” the study showed.

Those numbers make sense as U.S. smartphone penetration hit 79% at the end of last year, according to the study. This marks significant growth from just 2%, in 2005. In fact, in the past three years a quarter of the mobile phone market made the switch from feature phone to smartphone, the study said. What’s more, penetration has increased across every age demographic with millennials ages 18 to 24 topping off at 94%. Surprisingly, Android operating systems (used on Samsung phones) seized 53% of smartphone share last year with iOS (for Apple devices) coming in second place at 43%.

In terms of Internet usage overall, social networking accounts for one in every five minutes spent online. “The strength of this category, along with email and [instant messaging], highlights that one of digital’s primary functions is for communication—now more so than ever with the rise of mobile,” the study notes.

The report also finds millennials ages 18 to 24 regularly use several social networks, but Facebook still takes the lead in engagement and audience size. For users 35 and over, Facebook is also the No.1 social network in engagement and size, but users spend much less time on other networks, although there is a slightly higher engagement on LinkedIn.

So, just how much time does the average person spend on Facebook? According to comScore, Facebook accounts for one in every six minutes spent online, and more than one in five minutes spent on mobile. In Q4 2015, Facebook captured 13.8% of total digital media time. The social networking app accounted for 16.2% of time spent on smartphones. According to the study: “Facebook is the [No. 1] digital media property by time spent. While it maintains an impressive double-digit market share of desktop time spent, it really shines on mobile platforms where its four core apps each contribute a meaningful share of engagement.”

According to the Pew Research Center’s “Mobile Messaging and Social Media 2015” report, Facebook remains the most popular social network with 72% of online adults being Facebook users. Furthemore, Facebook continues to have the most engaged users—70% log on daily, including 43% who do so several times a day.

Over the past four years, almost all of the major social media platforms consistently tracked in Pew Research surveys (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest) have seen a significant increase in the proportion of U.S. adults who use them. But some have witnessed faster growth than others. The proportion of online adults who use Pinterest and Instagram has doubled since Pew first started tracking social media platform adoption in 2012. Research shows 31% of online adults use Pinterest (up from 15% in 2012), while 28% use Instagram (up from 13%).

Although there haven’t been changes in overall usage on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter from the fall of 2014 to the spring of 2015, some social networks experienced increases in user engagement. Most notably, the proportion of daily users on the major social networks has increased significantly from 2014.

Today, 59% of Instagram users visit the platform daily while 35% check out the app several times a day. The former figure reflects a 10-point increase from September 2014 when 49% of Instagram users reported visiting the site on a daily basis. Similarly, the proportion of Pinterest users who visit the platform daily increased from 17% in September 2014 to 27% in April 2015. The proportion of daily users on LinkedIn increased from 13% to 22% over the same time period.

When it comes to digital marketing, many flooring retailers have followed the formula employed by successful manufacturers by expanding their online presence. Web-savvy marketers know that most online ads are connected to a page that allows users to buy product featured in the marketing campaign, and consumers are responding accordingly. In fact, by Q4 2015 total digital commerce had grown to account for 15% of discretionary dollars spent by consumers—an all-time record, according to comScore. “Digital’s commerce share appears to be accelerating in recent years due to the impact of mobile,” the study states. In Q4 2015 total digital commerce surpassed $90 billion, its highest total ever.

M-commerce saw significant activity in 2015 with an increase of 56%, gaining a larger share of retail dollars when compared with desktop e-commerce and traditional brick-and-mortar stores. E-commerce—digital commerce on desktop—was relegated to 8% growth in 2015 as users demonstate a preference for mobile.

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