"I didn't really use Facebook that much until I got my iPhone." Sound familiar? That sentiment and variations of it has provided powerful anecdotal evidence over the past several months about the impact smartphones are having on the way people are using the mobile web to connect with others. Through the mobile phone, today's more mainstream users - those folks who don't count sitting behind a glowing screen among their favorite pastimes - have begun to interact on the mobile web, specifically the social web, in greater numbers than ever before.
A new report by Openwave provides more evidence of this trend. Their findings show that four of the top ten domains accessed via mobile devices are social networking sites. Facebook and MySpace, of course, featured prominently on that list.
Four of Ten Top Mobile Destinations are Social Networks, Says Openwave
The company's Fall 2009 report highlights mobile Internet use trends in North America and uses data from an unnamed tier-one mobile operator who offers services to both consumers and business. The data sampled represents a five-day period in September of this year.
Among the top ten domains by page impressions are four social networking sites: Facebook, MySpace, Myxer, and Plenty-of-Fish, the last two being a ringtone creation and sharing site and a dating network, respectively. The inclusion of those two under the banner "social networking" is a little iffy, at best. Dating sites could be considered a category of social networking, we suppose, but Myxer seems more like an entertainment destination than a social network.
The other top domains making the list included about.com, accuweather.com, craigslist.org, imdb.com, wap.aol.com, and calltunes.operator.com. While we have no reason to doubt the accuracy of this study, we find it odd that google.com didn't make an appearance. It seems like we google something on our mobile phones on a daily basis - don't you?
Still, despite these questions, it's clear from the findings that social networks are a popular destination for mobile users, even if you only count MySpace and Facebook. Those two sites alone racked up the impressions as both the number one and number three sites visited.
MySpace Beats Facebook? Really?
Oddly, the chart shows that MySpace beat out Facebook, another questionable finding given that once popular site's rapid decline in traffic as of late. Recent numbers from the U.S.-centric analytics firm Compete, for example, showed MySpace traffic dropping from 55.6 million unique visitors in August to 50.2 million in September. Given such a sharp decline, you would expect to see a similar drop in mobile visits as well.
Meanwhile, Facebook announced that they saw 65 million visits from mobile phones in the month of August, a huge rise from what was only 20 million back in December of 2007. Could they really be beaten out by that much on the mobile web according to this particular carrier? According to Openwave's report, they are.
While this recent report left us wondering, we have no doubt that social network use via mobile phones is trending upward these days. As the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) reported last month, there has been a one-year increase of 179% in subscribers accessing social networking sites from their mobile devices while those same sites only saw a 10% increase on the PC versions of the sites. And they're just one of many other outlets reporting similar trends. Social networking via the mobile phone is obviously a hot trend these days and one that hasn't peaked yet.