Data And Forecasts

Study: Mobile Grows During Day, Peaks at 9PM

New mobile metrics firm Ground Truth released data showing that US mobile data/Internet usage builds throughout the day, peaking in the evening at roughly 9pm: 

Ground Truth found that in the month of April, 32 percent of daily page views occurred between 7:00 p.m. and midnight, with the highest volume occurring at 9:00 p.m., local time . . .


The figures from Ground Truth's April census of 4.24 million Americans show that from 4 a.m. onwards, Mobile Internet usage (as measured in page view consumption) climbs steadily throughout the day, with usage intensifying after 6:00 p.m. and peaking at 9:00 p.m., when 7.2 percent of all page views occurred. Throughout the workday (9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.), an average of 54 percent of Mobile Internet users browse content, with workday usage heaviest around 4:00 p.m.


Assuming these data accurately reflect the broader usage patterns of US mobile subscribers (which is a reasonable assumption given the sample size) there are obvious advertising implications, around "day parting." It would be interesting to discover whether smartphone and feature phone users' habits parallel one another or whether they're distinct. 

My guess would be that it's the latter, because smartphones enjoy higher levels of engagement and they are broader information and entertainment devices. 

Android and iPhone Square Off in Nielsen Data

Nielsen yesterday released more mobile data that offer a range of interesting insights into the US smartphone world. Nielsen now asserts that smartphones comprise 23% of US handsets. If we assume a base of 250 million mobile subscribers (CTIA says it's more, comScore uses 234 million), the 23% translates into 57.5 million US smartphone users.

According to Nielsen's data almost 90% of iPhone and Android users have accessed the mobile Internet within the past 30 days. Various surveys we've done have indicated ranges from 37% to more than 50% of smartphone users tapping the mobile Internet on a daily basis. In the Nielsen data application use is almost as high as mobile Internet access. In addition, location-based services/GPS (probably maps and directions rather than Foursquare) come in as one of the top mobile usage categories.

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According to Nielsen, RIM and WinMo have lost share, while iPhone and Android have directly gained at their expense.

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Compare comScore's most recent US smartphone data (Feb 2010):

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There's also some interesting data about loyalty, showing iPhone and Android loyalty -- with Android owners being somewhat more open to buying an iPhone next vs the other way around. I've argued that Android sales would probably be directly impacted if the iPhone were more broadly available from carriers other than AT&T:

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ComScore Releases More Mobile Data

Interestingly comScore has been releasing more mobile data recently. Today they put out some new US hardware OEM numbers, together with high-level mobile user activity data. Most of the data are flat vs. numbers they put out just a month ago.

Top US handset OEMs (total market, not smartphones): 

  • Samsung -- 22.1%
  • LG -- 21.8%
  • Motorola -- 21.6%
  • RIM -- 8.4%
  • Nokia -- 8.1%

Activity, comparing April with March release:

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Here's a recap of recently released comScore data on mobile app and browser usage by content category:

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Finally here's recently released Nielsen data showing the hierarchy of apps utilized on US smartphones and feature phones:

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Yelp: 27% of Searches Now from iPhone

Yelp said that in May it had 32 million unique visitors, making it one of the leading local sites on the Internet. The company also released some data about iPhone usage, which are quite impressive. This is verbatim from the associated Yelp blog post:

  • On average, 27% of all Yelp searches come from our iPhone App. That number dips during the week when traffic surges. Then on the weekend, it moves up again as people pull out their Yelp mobile apps when they're on the go - a trend we've already been seeing for quite some time!
  • Last month, over half a million calls were made to local businesses directly from our Yelp iPhone App. That's about 1 call every 5 seconds to a business as a result of Yelp.
  • Nearly a million people generated point-to-point directions to a local business from their Yelp iPhone App last month.
  • In the past 30 days, Yelp for iPhone has had over 1.4 million unique visitors.

Sites like Zillow and Trulia have expressed that about 10% to 15% of traffic comes from their mobile apps. The Yelp number is huge by comparison and shows how significant mobile has become to the company's overall brand and strategy.

Yelp's content and use cases, in most cases, are a direct fit for mobile. Non entertainment related verticals might not see the same levels of traffic and usage. But the data above illustrate that the mobile market and mobile strategies cannot be put off by publishers and advertisers for much longer.  


Yelp has also taken another step in the direction of Foursquare et al by adding badges:

Now when a user checks-in to a combination of businesses, they will be able to earn "Yelp Badges." Badges you earn will help show off where you're checking in. For example, if a yelper loves to get their nigiri on at sushi restaurants, they can earn the "Sushi Sensei" badge . . . Once earned, badges can be shared with friends both via the Yelp iPhone app, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.

If users are checking into the same businesses in a given time period and/or neighborhood, they can also earn "Royal" status. Got the most check-ins at a business? You're the Duke, good sir (or Duchess, for the ladies). Most Dukedoms in a 'hood? You're the Baron! Most in the city? You're the King! . . .

Nielsen Provides Mobile Apps Data Download

The good people at Nielsen have just released some interesting survey based data about mobile applications and their relative popularity. Nielsen surveyed "4,200 people who had downloaded an application in the past 30 days."

Nielsen says that 21% of American mobile phone owners had a smartphone in Q4 2009. The number is now closer to 24% per Nielsen, our data and InsightExpress. The most popular smartphone apps, according to the Nielsen survey, are Facebook, Google Maps and Weather Channel. 

The following graphic shows the category breakdown with smartphones in yellow and feature phones in blue. One interesting thing to observe: regardless of handset type the category leaders are essentially the same. Smartphones just seem to make it easier for people to do what they're already doing otherwise. 

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While weather and maps are both local and two of the top three categories, many more of the categories on the list address offline activity: travel, entertainment/food, movies and some portion of the shopping category. 

Below are the top apps by smartphone platform, according to the survey:

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Notice that Facebook is the top app on all platforms other than Android. Google search is also not among the top apps except on the Android platform. 

Opera Receives an iBoost

Late last week Opera released its lastest State of the Mobile Web report, showing just how much of a boost the browser has received from being on the iPhone:

  • In April 2010, there were over 2.6 million unique users of Opera Mini on the iPhone.
  • Most likely due to the interest generated by Opera Mini’s new availability on the iPhone, the United States jumped from #8 to #6 in the top 10 countries list.
  • The United States is ranked #1 in terms of Opera Mini users on the iPhone, and the iPhone is the #1 handset used by Opera Mini users in the United States, well ahead of BlackBerry (which previously occupied the top spot).
  • The United Kingdom is ranked #4 in terms of Opera Mini users on the iPhone, and the iPhone is the 5th most popular handset used by Opera Mini users in the United Kingdom.

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Survey: 27% Click, 28% Online Daily via Mobile

ABI research released survey data (n=1,000 US consumers) that show growth in daily mobile Internet access and healthy mobile response rates to ads. Here's what the data show at the top level:

  • 27% of mobile Internet users have clicked on a banner or text link
  • 28% of mobile phone users access Internet sites at least once a day from their phones vs. 16% in the company's 2008 survey
  • Just under 45% of survey respondents, "while not enthusiastic, would accept promotions if they had some control over the process." This compares to 36% in the firm's 2008 survey. 
  • Consumers are cautious about making purchases from their phones, with almost 3/4 citing security concerns as an inhibitor

This is just one survey in a sea of surveys. These metrics are apparently for all mobile users; smartphone user behavior is different, with more engagement and greater response to ads. 

We have data from proprietary Internet2Go surveys and third party sources that show daily mobile Internet access between 30% and up to nearly 60% (for smartphone users) depending on the survey and population. Accordingly the ABI numbers are very low in terms of smartphone users but generally high in terms of the overall market. 

In terms of ad response rates, there's AOL-Universal McCann data from mid-2009 that show "38% of smartphone owners have taken acton in response to mobile ads." But generally response rates to mobile advertising are 10x to 20x comparable PC-Internet-based advertising.

Regarding coupons and promotions, there are a lot of data (attitudinal and behavioral) that show greater and more positive consumer response to deals/offers than the reluctant acceptance suggested above. The numbers go up if users own smartphones and use the mobile Internet, but it's also true of SMS users:

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More Handset Share Numbers & How Many Apps Is Enough?

Android and the iPhone are the rising stars in Gartner's new handset figures -- especially Android. RIM has also made gains internationally. Once again smartphone sales are driving the market in Q1. Awaiting the launch of Windows (7) Phones later this year Microsoft-powered handsets continue to lose ground. 

Smartphones now represent between 22% and 24% of all handsets in the US market. As these figures grow so will mobile Internet usage. In Europe several markets are in a comparable position.

Below are the Gartner global share figures, by overall handset sales and then smartphones. For reference, you can compare Q1 hardware numbers from IDC and comScore

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In the US market right now it has become a three-way race between RIM, Apple and Google. Outside the US Nokia remains dominant.

One of Apple's competitive differentiators, the size of its app store, is going away at least vs. Android. Right now Apple has more than 200K iPhone apps to Android's 50K or so. But 50K is probably sufficient for most consumers and the relative size of the app stores will cease to matter. Furthermore most iPhone developers are building Android versions of their apps. 

I've noticed that Verizon is also advertising the fact of Android apps to try and close the perception of a competitive gap between the iPhone and Android.

What's also interesting to see develop is advertising around particular Android handsets. In one TV commercial for the Moment or Behold (I can't remember which) Samsung is seeking to differentiate via the handset's screen as well as seeking to create an image of mystery or sophistication around the device. By constrast the Verizon/Motorola Droid remains targeted toward males with a kind of "kick ass" attitude. This kind of image building will be both challenging and critical for the various Android OEMs in an effort to build sub-brands within the Android universe. 

Accordingly, how these Android hardware OEMs seek to both emphasize and de-emphasize Android in their marketing and TV campaigns will be fascinating to watch. They need to communicate to interested prospects that these handsets are Android devices but then quickly move on to focus on other features: better cameras, screens, proprietary UIs, etc. as principle points of differentiation from other Android devices. 

Putting aside the operating system fragmentation issues, the dozens of Android OEMs and the evolving hardware ecosystem is both a strength and a weakness for the platform. 

Former DoubleClick Exec Rains on Mobile Ad Parade

Amid the multi-billion dollar five-year mobile ad forecasts there is skepticism here and there. One source of some of that skepticism is former DoubleClick CEO Kevin Ryan. According to a piece appearing in the the Wall Street Journal, Ryan said that he didn't think mobile advertising was going to be as big as everyone is predicting:

But Kevin Ryan, the former CEO of online-ad company DoubleClick, said he doesn’t see mobile advertising delivering on those promises soon. Mr. Ryan, who left DoubleClick in 2005 and is the founder and chairman of high-end retailer Gilt Groupe, said that he has long been asked about mobile advertising and that “the real answer” is that he doesn’t think mobile is going to be as big as people think — although he learned very quickly that “the answer that people want to hear is that mobile is going to be huge.”

“Even today … there is almost no mobile advertising,” he said at an Internet, media and telecom conference held by financial-services firm Jefferies. “The screen is just too small,” even on many of today’s smart phones. Mr. Ryan said the iPad is the first mobile device he’s seen that could deliver compelling advertising to consumers.

The business of forecasting ad spending is largely an academic exercise. What really matters is whether there's an audience and whether ads in the channel are effective.

We know from many different sources, including InsightExpress and DynamicLogic, that mobile display advertising outperforms its older online cousin handily.  

We also know that there are roughly 70 to 75 million users of the mobile Internet and that people are searching, using LBS and checking product pricing and reviews at or near the point of sale. Accordingly, there's considerable "commercial activity" (though little or no "e-commerce") happening on the mobile Internet.

I wrote yesterday about novel in-app targeting between retailers. Placecast's geo-fencing ShopAlerts have also proven highly successful for early adopter-retailers. 

We know that SMS marketing helps "close the loop" and make traditional media more measurable and interactive. We also know that it's a channel almost unique in its capacity to reach teens and younger audiences.

It's true that ad dollars take longer to show up than consumer audiences; that was equally the case with the Internet, and still is to a large degree today. And it's also true that the most effective uses of mobile advertising and marketing may turn out to be things like couponing, mobile loyalty and CRM functions, rather than pure awareness advertising. However marketers are still testing and trying to determine the most effective uses of mobile and how to best integrate it into overall campaigns.

It would be a mistake to see the mobile channel as ineffective or otherwise ease off the accelerator because of articles like the one above or skepticism about mobile ad revenue potential. That entirely misses the point.

Mobile consumers are already there, mobile commercial activity is there. Marketers that delay or turn away will simply miss the opportunity. 

NPD: Android Sales Beat iPhone in Q1

The latest installment of the never-ending coverage of who's winning the smartphone handset war involves the release of NPD data for Q1 2010 (US market). The firm said that RIM was number one but that Android had edged the iPhone for the number two position:

PD’s wireless market research reveals that based on unit sales to consumers last quarter the Android operating system moved into second position at 28 percent behind RIM’s OS (36 percent) and ahead of Apple’s OS (21 percent).

Strong sales of the Droid, Droid Eris, and Blackberry Curve via these promotions helped keep Verizon Wireless’s smartphone sales on par with AT&T in Q1. According to NPD’s Mobile Phone Track, smartphone sales at AT&T comprised nearly a third of the entire smartphone market (32 percent), followed by Verizon Wireless (30 percent), T-Mobile (17 percent) and Sprint (15 percent).

Those Q1 quarterly sales data again:

  • RIM: 36%
  • Android: 28%
  • Apple/iPhone: 21% 

The data are based on self-reported consumer survey data. Overall marketshare data from IDC and comScore show Apple ahead of the various Android handset makers:

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Source: IDC 5/10

 Here are the comScore smartphone data (US):

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And Now IDC's Smartphone Numbers

This morning IDC put out its global smartphone market share figures. The company said that the smartphone market grew at more than double the rate in Q1 of the overall mobile handset market:

According to the International Data Corporation . . . vendors shipped a total of 54.7 million units in the first quarter of 2010 (1Q10), up 56.7% from the same quarter a year ago. In contrast, the overall mobile phone market grew 21.7%. Converged mobile devices accounted for 18.8% of all mobile phones shipped in 1Q10, up slightly from 14.4% in 1Q09.

With an improving economy, all endors shipped more units though there were some share shifts according to IDC:

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Nokia shipped more units but remained flat in terms of market share. RIM lost share and Apple and Motorola grew, Apple dramatically. The HTC and Motorola numbers are largely (though not 100%) surrogates for Android.

ComScore: Now 30% Browsing Mobile Web

Measurement firm comScore released some new mobile US marketshare data today (Jan - March 2010). It shows 30% of mobile users browsing the Internet on their handsets. If we extrapolate that's at least 75 million people.

ComScore uses a smaller number of mobile subscribers, 234 million, as its base than CTIA's 285 million or the 250 million claimed as subscribers of the four major US mobile carriers. Here is the hierachy of handset OEMs by marketshare according to comScore:

  1. Samsung -- 21.9%
  2. Motorola -- 21.9%
  3. LG -- 21.8%
  4. RIM -- 8.3%
  5. Nokia -- 8.3%

The figures above reflect overall US marketshare not smartphones in particular. The most recent smartphone numbers from comScore for the US market were released in April:

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Below are the most recent "content usage" figures and activities:

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Update: Apple reportedly has a 5% share of the overall US mobile handset market according to comScore (via AllThingsD):

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InsightExpress Segments Mobile Users

Research firm InsightExpress has released results of a quarterly consumer survey (n=1,050, Q4 2009) that segments mobile users into three categories: 

  • Mobile Intensives
  • Mobile Casuals
  • Mobile Restrained

Intensives constitute 23% of the mobile audience according to InsightExpress. A majority (68%) own smartphones and are mostly 18 to 44 years old (86%). This group as the name suggests are very involved with their devices and utilize them heavily (mobile Internet, texting, videos, applications, etc.).

This group is the most open to ads on mobile handsets:

Over half (53 percent) agree that they “Look at advertisements to see what I should purchase” while 44 percent agree that they “Make a want list” of products advertised.

Casuals make up 24% of the audience and are less involved with their devices. A lower percentage (15%) own smartphones; they're 35 to 54 (59%) and largely female (65%). According to InsightExpress they use their devices for texting and picture taking:

Almost three quarters (73%) text once a week, 43% take pictures once a week, and 21% send pictures once a week.

Almost half pay attention to mobile ads (46%); they “Look at advertisements to see what I should purchase."

The Restrained category constitutes 53% of the mobile audience. They almost all (96%) own non-smartphones. A majority (57%) are older than 45 and they're less affluent than the other groups. They do look at mobile ads though:

47% agree that they “Look at advertisements to see what I should purchase."

All this is largely intuitive: smartphone owners are more engaged and affluent. They also tend to be somewhat younger than others. The percentage of smartphone owners extrapolated from these results is just over 18%. Nielsen by contrast estimates the number at 22%. We just conducted an online survey in which 30% of 1,300 respondents had smartphones. 

The female-dominated casuals segment is primed for movement into the intensives category. Verizon marketed "Droid" to males; someone should develop a smartphone that targets females (which the iPhone already attracts) and moms in particular.

As a final note, the survey reveals general openness to mobile advertising. Roughly half of all mobile users are "looking at" mobile ads and open to their influence. These numbers should encourage mobile marketers and are dramatically less negative than earlier research showing outright hostility to mobile advertising. 

Opera: iPhone Already Having an Impact

In the roughly two and a half weeks since the Opera Mini browser was approved for the iPhone it's already had a dramatic impact on Opera usage and metrics. The following statement was part of the morning's PR missive announcing the latest State of the Mobile Web report:

[T]he iPhone is already the third-most popular handset for Opera Mini users worldwide, according to Opera’s State of the Mobile Web Report. The release of the iPhone also portends changes to the top 10 list. According to preliminary numbers, the United States may soon have the fifth-most Opera Mini users, displacing Nigeria, South Africa and Ukraine on its ascent up the list.

Here are screens showing then hierarchy of sites and handsets using Opera Mini in three markets for March, 2010:

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If you're having any trouble seeing the lists above, you can get the full report here.

AdMob: Android Share of Network Traffic Surpasses iPhone in US

AdMob, which still hopes to be acquired by Google, issued its March 2010 Mobile Metrics Report. The report focuses on the Android ecosystem --34 devices from 12 manufacturers -- and the different Android OS versions in the market. While AdMob is not synonymous with the mobile Internet, its traffic reflects tremendous Android growth and is likely directionally consistent with the rest of the market.

The iPhone remains the top device, however the cumulative traffic on AdMob's network generated via Android handsets now appears to exceed the iPhone in the US market. 

According to AdMob "Motorola and HTC were the leading Android device manufacturers with 44 percent and 43 percent of respective traffic." In particular the Motorola Droid was the single leading Android handset in the US, generating "32% of Android traffic" on AdMob's network in the US.

Now for the charts:

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US Market:

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Compare AdMob's US data from March 2009:

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Note the that RIM (22% of smartphone traffic in March, 2009; 7% in 2010), Palm and Windows Mobile are either gone from the charts above or trending aggressively downward. Palm as it stands is dead; Windows Phones will come out in Q4. But RIM must be concerned.

The company has the second largest share of smartphones globally, after Nokia, and the largest in the US. It seems to be growing subscribers at a heatly pace, although it's last earnings report missed analyst expectations. However RIM's share of Internet usage lags -- a leading indicator of future sales in our view.

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RIM is working on an improved mobile browser and Internet experience. Consumer demands are changing and RIM will need to be more competitive in that arena going forward in order to grow -- or even maintain -- its handset share. 


Related: I was careful above to qualify the Android vs. iPhone remarks by saying that these data were reflective of AdMob's network. This post from Business Insider takes issue with a TechCrunch characterization that generalizes too much from the AdMob data: No, Android Did NOT Just Pass iPhone In Mobile Web Traffic

While I've never said that AdMob and the mobile Web are the same, I've seen them as "directionally consistent" in terms of trends. But here's a key point about the potentially changing composition of the AdMob network that I had not thought about carefully: 

While Android's user base -- and Web traffic consumption -- is growing and could eventually rival Apple's, AdMob's ad request data is NOT a proxy for mobile web usage in general.

Why not? Because AdMob's statistics include an important variable that can cause significant fluctuations: AdMob's publisher relationships with web sites and apps, which cause different types of ad requests over time as the publisher network changes.

For example, if AdMob were to add more Android apps -- and therefore, more Android ad requests -- to its publisher base, or if it were to lose iPhone apps from its publisher base, that would affect its ad request statistics. In other words, Android and iPhone ad request stats could shift significantly from quarter to quarter with nothing else changing but AdMob's publisher relationships.

And to some extent, that's what's happening.

After speaking with AdMob, we understand that AdMob is seizing a big percentage of the new Android-app ad market. At the same time, it is likely losing share of the iPhone ad market, which is becoming much more competitive as other ad networks like Millennial, JumpTap, and Google catch up to AdMob's early lead.

(emphasis in original)

Verve: 9 Million Mobile Readers of News

News is a very popular category on mobile devices, with more than 50% of mobile users accessing some form of news content on their handsets. And now with the iPad and its competitors (Kindle, et al) there is a serious mobile-news consumption device, the tablet.

Wired magazine says that already 26% of its mobile traffic is coming from the iPad.

Now mobile platform platform provider and local-mobile ad network Verve Wireless has teamed up with the Audit Bureau of Circulations to capture more "granular" data on news consumption via mobile devices. Here are the metrics the partnership will help generate and monitor:

  • Mobile audience by device type
  • Mobile audience by day and day part
  • Audience access points (app, mobile browser, e-reader)
  • Unique visitors
  • Page views

Wired says that its iPad users appear to have substituted the device for the iPhone so the magazine preliminarily concludes the audience hasn't necessarily grown. However it implies that Pad users are more engaged.

The Verve-ABC release offers some Verve-specific metrics on mobile news consumption:

  • [Verve] anticipates serving more than 2.2 billion mobile news pages in 2010.
  • Mobile advertising revenues have grown across Verve's network of media partners 30 percent each month since November.
  • In March, more than 160 million mobile news pages were served, a 214 percent increase year over year.
  • More than nine million readers accessed news from mobile devices via Verve's mobile publishing platform in March, representing a 243 percent increase compared to the prior year.
  • More than four million of its mobile news apps have been downloaded to  . . . smartphones.

Verve operates a local-mobile ad network; so do LSN, Where, IAC/CitySearch and LocalAdXchange.

MMA: LBS Ads Perform Better

The Mobile Marketing Association has released some pretty compelling survey data about location-based services and advertising. The survey was conducted among 1,071 US adults in March; 91% of the survey sample had a mobile phone. Here are some of the top-level findings (nearly verbatim):

  • 26 percent of mobile phone owners have used a “map, navigation or some other mobile phone service that automatically determines your current location.”
  • 48 percent of those who noticed any ads while using location-based services took at least some action. This was a significantly higher rate than for those who noticed advertisements while sending/receiving text messages (37 percent) and almost twice the rate of those who saw an ad while browsing Web sites (28 percent).
  • 10 percent of the cell phone owners surveyed use mobile location services at least once a week; yet 63 percent of Apple iPhone owners use location services at least once a week. Adults ages 25-34 are frequent users of location services, with 22 percent using them at least once a week.
  • Respondents said they use these services most frequently to “locate nearby points of interest, shops or services.”
  • Consumers are interested in allowing their phone to automatically share their location in exchange for perks, such as free use of mobile applications and mobile coupons.

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(Emphasis is mine.)

As the iPhone user numbers point out, smartphone owners are much heavier users of these services. In a 2009 AOL survey, for example, 73% of smartphone owners were users of maps and directions. The new datapoints are the following:

  • Frequency of LBS usage
  • 48% response rates (qualified) but higher than other ad categories (this is also mirrored in a way by the Placecast ShopAlerts data)
  • Openness to sharing location when it turns into tangible benefits/rewards (e.g., coupons/alerts/promotions)

Report: Social Nets Dominate Mobile Airtime

According to new mobile metrics provider, Ground Truth, "social networking activity comprises more than half of the time spent on the Mobile Internet." These data are drawn from "a census of 3.05 million U.S. mobile phone users," based in large part on mobile operator data.

It's not clear what the handset breakdown is. But the larger US market looks like this: about 20%-22% smartphones and just under 80% non-smartphones. Here a couple of charts provided by Ground Truth to illustrate the data:

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I have no trouble believing that people are spending huge amounts of time with mobile social networks. However, the company argues that these lesser known mobile-social networks are dominating Facebook and MySpace. There's not much context provided but it raises the question of the demographic and handset breakdowns behind the data. Who are the people that are on MocoSpace and MobaMingle? What is the hierarchy here?

I have to believe that most of these companies aren't going to survive over time given Facebook's aggressive march into mobile. Even MySpace is at risk. 

Pew: Text the Dominant Medium for Teens

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has put out an extensive report on teens and mobile phone behavior. It's based on a telephone survey of US teens and their parents. There's lots of data and nuance but the big (and already familiar) takeaways are these:

  • Text messaging is the dominant communication tool of US teens
  • Half of teens send 50+ SMS messages a day; "one in three send more than 100 texts a day, or more than 3,000 texts a month."
  • Girls text more than boys

Many teens are going online with their phones (27%). This generally mirrors some of the figures for mobile Internet access in the broader population.

Many teens from lower income households or where there is no computer in the home use their mobile phones as a way to get on the Internet:

  • 21% of teens who do not otherwise go online say they access the internet on their cell phone.
  • 41% of teens from households earning less than $30,000 annually say they go online with their cell phone. Only 70% of teens in this income category have a computer in the home, compared with 92% of families from households that earn more.
  • 44% of black teens and 35% of Hispanic teens use their cell phones to go online, compared with 21% of white teens.

Who pays the bill?

  • 69% of teen cell phone users have a phone that is part of a contract covering all of their family’s cell phones.
  • 18% of teen cell phone users are part of a prepaid or pay-as-you-go plan.
  • 10% of teen cell phone users have their own individual contract.

According to the report, 26% of teens "live in households that do not have a land-line phone, and 29% of all families say they receive all or almost all of their calls on a cellular phone."

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The implications of studies like this are fairly obvious:

  • As these people come of age they will be oriented to mobile devices as central communication and Internet access tools
  • Mobile will be their primary Internet access platform in many cases
  • If you want to reach teens today, mobile is the most efficient medium and the one with the greatest potential reach 

There's considerably more to the report, which can be accessed here.

Glympse Enables Mo-Lo Sharing on Facebook

Glympse is a simple and elegant mobile app that allows "real-time location sharing" via mobile devices. Users who receive a "Glympse" (via email or otherwise) can see the movements of the person in real time on a map, as he or she travels to a destination. We wrote about it when the company launched a year ago. It has versions that work on the iPhone/iPod Touch, Android, Windows Mobile and of course now the iPad. Glympse continues to build out its offering and service and today announced real-time location sharing on Facebook:

Glympse goes beyond static "check-ins" or a simple map showing your location, and allows iPhone™ and Android users to quickly update their status via their mobile phone so their Facebook friends can follow their real-time movements on a dynamic map, for a set period of time.

It also works via Twitter too (although you only get the link via Twitter and must click away for the rich media experience). 

The person receiving the "Glympse" doesn't need any software online or on a handset to see the map and movement. That functionality has now been extended to the Facebook news feed so that Glympse user movements and the related map can be viewed in the Facebook news feed like you might view a video in-line.

Here's a screenshot: 

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Glympse users can share their location and subsequent movement with one person or many depending on whom they choose to notify. (What's not entirely clear to me is whether, when I send a Glympse to my wife or friend, all their Facebook contacts get to see my movements too. I supsect there are controls and that's not the case.)

The video below shows a demonstration of how it works and how it operates on Facebook:

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Glympse has lots of privacy controls so its not a stalker app. Even if someone forgets that Glympse is on -- it requires multitasking support to work "in the background" so won't work continuously on the iPhone until OS 4 -- it will expire after a limited duration. 

I also find it interesting that, from a positioning standpoint, the company is now trying to ride the "check in" wave, which makes sense: "Glympse . . . goes beyond static "check-ins" or a simple map showing your location . . . "

I think the Facebook application and integration will drive considerable awareness and growth for Glympse. There's tremendous utility here for people, but the new Facebook integration adds a novel and "fun" dimension as people can now post their movements to their networks (e.g., trip across the country, etc.).