The Social Users Marketers Want To Reach Are On Mobile

With Facebook announcing its earnings today, it will be interesting to know more about the performance of video ads and Facebook's teen usage, following my colleagues’ research that showing young people are using the site more rather than less.

I’ll be curious to hear if there is a business strategy update, but I don’t think we’ll have more insights on what “unbundling the big blue app” really means. I think one possible option is that social data and contextual identity will be the layer on top of Facebook’s new social conglomerate.

I personally will be looking more specifically for an update on mobile app installs. There's no doubt that Facebook has disrupted the app marketing space by becoming a key player in app discovery — which is the key driver behind its mobile ad revenues.

A growing and significant part of this business comes from direct marketers looking to drive app installs, primarily from gaming and other businesses that are increasingly dependent on mobile, such as travel and retail companies. These players know the lifetime value of their apps and have calculated how much they can spend to drive each app download and still have a positive return on investment (ROI). But marketers in more-traditional businesses or who are pursuing other marketing goals should pay close attention to the unique attributes of their mobile social users and optimize their social strategies to engage them.

Why?

Because people who access social networking sites from their smartphones are more active and more likely to interact with brands, and they value these interactions more on social sites than PC users do. I recently analyzed social mobile behaviors with my colleague Roxanna Strohmenger for our new report, "The Social Users You Want To Reach Are On Mobile," and we found that:

  • Smartphone users are more likely to create content. For example, 46% of smartphone users who access social networking sites at least weekly post pictures, audio, or video that they created versus only 34% for PC users.
  • Smartphone users are also more likely to comment, share, and like content posted by a company. Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign in China is a good example of matching the viral nature of a campaign and massive mobile social usage.
  • Time spent on social applications via smartphones is also significant for consumers who engage with brands on their mobile device. On average, these consumers spend nearly 25 minutes per day on Facebook, 12 minutes per day on YouTube, and 10 minutes per day on Instagram.*

What does it mean for marketers?

Your social strategy doesn’t need to differ for smartphones for now, but you need to do more than just fix the basics by optimizing content for the smartphone screen. Winning in mobile moments means not just leveraging advanced targeting capabilities such as Facebook’s custom audiences but also personalizing and contextualizing the story, content, services, and promotions you offer in real time to individuals whose expectations have shifted.

I recently attended a conference where Facebook’s Managing Director for France, Laurent Solly, shared Coca-Cola’s #AmericaIsBeautiful Super Bowl TV ad — which was delivered to multiple segments of customers via Facebook targeting tools — as an early example of what more personalized storytelling for brands could mean.

For more information, clients can download our new report here that explains why mobile social users are an important audience for marketers by comparing their interactions with brands on social sites via mobile and PC.

*According to Forrester’s US Consumer Technographics® Behavioral Study, November 2013 to March 2014.

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