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Social Marketers Dive into Mobile

A mobile-first mentality is taking hold

January 9, 2013

There is no question that social media has gone mobile, as more and more consumers access their accounts via smartphones and tablets. Now, marketers are racing to catch up with consumers where they connect, employing a variety of strategies for outreach, according to a new eMarketer report, “Social Media Marketing on Mobile Devices: Turning Challenges into Opportunities.”

Devices US Social Media Users Use to Access Social Media, 2011 & 2012 (% of respondents)

The key opportunity for marketers in the shift toward mobile is that mobile users not only log in more frequently, but they also spend more total time on social media sites. As devices integrate social media more deeply, such as by making it easier to upload photos from a mobile phone to a social site, it reinforces the mobile-social virtuous circle, making it even stronger.

In the US, 60% of smartphone users surveyed by Google in March 2012 reported that they visited mobile social networks daily, up from 54% in July 2011.

Frequency of Mobile Social Network Visits According to US Smartphone Owners, July 2011 & March 2012 (% of respondents)

“What we’re realizing—along with our clients—is that the most engaged folks on social networks are people who are accessing via mobile,” said Chia Chen, senior vice president and mobile practice lead at Digitas. “So the question is, how do we think about it from a mobile perspective in the beginning? How do we make the social experience for them mobile at the core?”

To best implement a mobile-social strategy, marketers will need to think broadly and strategically.

Understanding the ways in which consumers use their mobile devices—and the differences between how they use smartphones and tablets—is critical to constructing social marketing campaigns. Marketers also need to make their content accessible across all devices.

Overhauling their Facebook strategy to focus less on promotions tied to their brand page and more on the content they deliver to the newsfeed is also a must, as Facebook’s mobile usage rises dramatically, and the newsfeed takes pride of place on the smaller-screen devices.

But the transition is not simply about adaptation. It is also about opportunity. With photo-sharing among the top activities of mobile social users, leaning toward using imagery instead of text in social media marketing is one effective strategy. In addition, mobile offers the location component to marketers who want to catch the attention of mobile users on the go.

The full report, “Social Media Marketing on Mobile Devices: Turning Challenges into Opportunities,” also answers these key questions:

  • How many people access social media via mobile devices?
  • Why should marketers think about tablets and smartphones differently when it comes to social media?
  • How do marketers feel about the mobile opportunities on Facebook?
  • What strategies should marketers consider using as they extend social media marketing from desktop to mobile?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. eMarketer clients, log in and view the report now.

Check out today’s other articles, “Digital to Account for One in Five Ad Dollars” and “In Canada, Companies Slow to Get on the 'Big Data' Bandwagon.”


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