Just 1.7 percent of all UK mobile subscribers (812,000) used a mobile social network in Q108, according to new Nielsen research. Even so, the research firm said the space “could be the next big thing”. It said 44 percent of mobile phone users belonged to web-based social networks, and a quarter of them used such sites whilst mobile.
So while the takeup from the overall pool of mobile users is low, it was never a given that all mobile users would take to the social nets. Convincing a quarter of all mobile-owning social net users to try out the services whilst wireless is not bad going at this early stage.
Identifying the leading sites is pretty easy – they’re exactly the same as in the desktop web world, with Facebook’s m.facebook.com getting over 557,000 hits (nine percent of all UK mobile web users) in the quarter. But travel net Where Are You Now? fares much better on mobile (seventh against 21st on desktop).
EMarketer has an analysis piece arguing that mobile content needs a jumpstart since people prefer to use mobile data for communication rather than information or entertainment. Even in Japan the primary data use was e-mail (57 percent) compared to mobile internet access (20 percent). “The upshot for mobile carriers and mobile content providers is that they need a new context in which to pitch mobile data access to users. Without a compelling incentive for users to sign up for mobile data access, it is likely that mobile carriers will see their mobile data revenues jump sharply at first and then start to stall at around 30 percent, as was the case in Japan. Mobile social networking potentially could not only push mobile data access over that hump, but could pull in other communications services to a social networking session.”