Openwave: Social Network Demand High on Mobile Devices

Mobile platform and services provider Openwave presented a range of data in its "mobile Insiights" report for April. Some of those data are reflected in a press release put out today. The data are behavioral rather than survey based:

Social networking remains the number one area of interest to mobile internet users with Facebook and MySpace being the top two search terms on both Google and Yahoo! OneSearch. In terms of average hits per session, MySpace leads Facebook by nearly 46 percent, suggesting that MySpace could become the preferred choice of mobile communication for a particular segment of an operator subscriber base and displace some of the most frequently used email offerings. The social networking trend presents a unique opportunity for operators to partner with these leading social networking sites through co-branding efforts with a view to generating incremental revenues from messaging generated from the social networking sites. 

Many of the items in the report make carrier centric recommendations. Among the findings, engagement is highest with MySpace, followed by Yahoo!, Facebook and Google.

Top search queries on Google mobile site (assume sanitized): 

  1. MySpace
  2. Facebook
  3. YouTube
  4. Movies
  5. Gmail
  6. Weather
  7. Craigslist
  8. ESPN
  9. EBay
  10. Weather

Top search queries on Yahooo! oneSearch: 

  1. MySpace
  2. Facebook
  3. Google
  4. YouTube
  5. Yahoo
  6. funformobile
  7. Myxer
  8. EBay
  9. ESPN
  10. Gmail

 Compare Opera data, which includes some of the sites above but others not mentioned by Openwave:


Both sets of data reflect high demand and usage of social networks in mobile. However, as a percentage of the overall mobile subscriber base the number of mobile social network users is 10% or less based on our survey data. The numbers we've found have grown since last year but not as dramatically as the rankings above suggest. 

Beyond this Openwave found that carrier portals still see much more traffic (monthly uniques) than the "off deck" mobile Internet. Here's the Openwave chart:

Openwave mobile traffic comparison
Source: Openwave (3/08), US mobile traffic

On smartphones, that distribution would be quite different. But the majority of phones in the market are not smartphones and so carriers still see quite a bit of traffic. Over time there will be erosion unless they figure out value-added services and incentives to retain users.

Openwave also published a comparison of response rates on different mobile ad networks:

CTRs OpenWave
Eventually we're likely to see mobile response rates (on the display side) more closely mirror online response, which brings me to a diatribe on clicks that I'll save for later.