Social Networking

28% of American adults use mobile and social location-based services

Source: Pew Internet, Sep 6, 2011by Kathryn Zickuhr, Aaron Smith

More than a quarter of all American adults—28%—use mobile or social location-based services of some kind. This includes anyone who takes part in one or more of the following activities:

  • 28% of cell owners use phones to get directions or recommendations based on their current location—that works out to 23% of all adults.
  • A much smaller number (5% of cell owners, equaling 4% of all adults) use their phones to check in to locations using geosocial services such as Foursquare or Gowalla. Smartphone owners are especially likely to use these services on their phones.
  • 9% of internet users set up social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn so that their location is automatically included in their posts on those services. That works out to 7% of all adults.

Taken together, 28% of U.S. adults do at least one of these activities either online or using their mobile phones—and many users do several of them. This is the Pew Internet Project’s most expansive study of location services to date; in previous surveys, we have asked only about the use of geosocial or “check in” services.1

Summary table

Several groups have higher-than-average rates of location service usage, including:

  • Smartphone owners – One in ten smartphone owners (12%) have used a geosocial (“check in”) service such as Foursquare or Gowalla, and 55% of smartphone owners have used a location-based information service. Almost six in ten smartphone owners (58%) use at least one of these services. These are all well above the average for cell owners as a whole.
  • Younger users – Smartphone owners ages 18-49 are more likely than those over 50 to use either geosocial or location-based services on their phones. (There are no significant differences among social media users by age in regard to automatic location-tagging.)
  • Non-whites – Geosocial services and automatic location-tagging are most popular with minorities, continuing a trend of mobile connectivity that has been seen in other Pew Internet surveys.2 Hispanics are the most active in these two activities, with a quarter (25%) of Latino smartphone owners using geosocial services and almost a third (31%) of Latino social media users enabling automatic location-tagging. However, though only 7% of white smartphone owners use geosocial services, 59% get location-based information on their phones, compared with 53% of blacks and only 44% of Hispanics.

About this survey

The results reported here are based on a national telephone survey of 2,277 adults conducted April 26-May 22, 2011. 1,522 interviews were conducted by landline phone, and 755 interviews were conducted by cell phone. Interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish.  For results based on all adults, the margin of error is +/-2 percentage points. For results based on smartphone owners, the margin of error is +/-4.5 percentage points (n=688). For results based on social networking and Twitter users (“social media users”), the margin of error is +/-3.5 percentage points (n=975).

Tech startups combine gaming and healthcare

Source: Timothy Hay, WSJ, Thursday Decemeber 29th 2011

A group of technology start-ups is taking its cue from social gaming, in hopes of relieving companies, doctors and patients of some of the pain involved in managing health care.

The new businesses, staffed mainly by health-industry veterans, have adapted common social-gaming features to help companies motivate their employees to get fitter or to encourage doctors to keep in touch with their colleagues and patients online.

One of the start-ups, Keas Inc., whose clients include Pfizer Inc. and Novartis Inc., offers a gaming platform that allows groups of employees to compete with one another at exercising, eating healthily and taking better care of themselves.

San Francisco-based Keas originally aimed to offer consumers alerts, messaging and personalized information to help them lose weight and adopt healthier habits, but that plan didn’t work out.

“We tried to give people constant feedback about their health, but for a lot of people, more bad news and negative feedback just didn’t work,” said Adam Bosworth, the company’s chief technology officer. “If you keep giving someone negative feedback, they will eventually change the channel to the game channel. One day we decided to become that game channel.”

Keas now sets up contests in which co-workers compete by walking to the office more often or eating more vegetables. It says it has 80,000 active users, more than $16 million in venture capital and a growing list of customers. Quest Diagnostics Inc. said more than 80% of its employees who participated in an employee-wellness pilot program with Keas reported improved health.

Other start-ups are pushing doctors to step up their game with features found in social games like Zynga Inc.’s Farmville or on social-networking sites like Facebook or Foursquare.

HealthTap Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif., runs a website that doctors can use to build an online profile, gaining public exposure by answering health-related questions from consumers. The more questions a doctor answers, the more points the doctor wins and the more prominently he is featured on the site, potentially attracting more patients. Patients, meanwhile, can sign up as followers of a particular doctor or of other patients on the site and can indicate if they like or dislike various bits of content.

HealthTap says more than 6,000 doctors, as well as institutions including Harvard Medical School and the Cleveland Clinic, are actively answering users’ questions on its site.

“We’re not building a game here, just adding subtle game mechanics to make it more fun for doctors,” said HealthTap Chief Executive Ron Gutman.

Audax Health Inc., a Washington-based start-up with $16.5 million in funding, said it plans to offer a gaming platform designed to enable large insurers to offer incentives to their members—such as reduced premiums—in return for adopting healthier habits.

Doximity Inc. and WellnessFX Inc., two start-ups that have gained some traction among health-care providers, are in the process of incorporating gaming features.

Doximity, based in San Mateo, Calif., provides a secure messaging platform that doctors can use to answer treatment questions from colleagues, and to become acquainted with other doctors, to whom they can refer patients. Because of strict privacy laws, doctors often discuss cases by fax, since regular email isn’t considered secure enough.

Chief Executive Jeff Tangney said Doximity has grown more quickly over the past several months since it added some game-like features. By expanding their network of friends and followers on Doximity, a doctors can earn a “Top Doctor” badge on the website, a potential magnet for referrals. Doximity soon plans to let users “follow” one another, he said, as they can on other platforms.

San Francisco-based WellnessFX, which analyzes blood and urine samples, also provides a secure online forum in which doctors can confer with their patients.

WellnessFX is considering adding game features to the mix to keep doctors and patients engaged, according to Chief Executive Jim Kean. “We’re working on badges and leaderboards,” he said.

Read full article

comScore Reports November 2011 U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share

One-third of Mobile Subscribers Access Social Networking on Mobile Device

RESTON, VA, December 29, 2011 – comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released data from the comScore MobiLens service, reporting key trends in the U.S. mobile phone industry during the three month average period ending November 2011. The study surveyed more than 30,000 U.S. mobile subscribers and found Samsung to be the top handset manufacturer overall with 25.6 percent market share. Google Android continued to capture share in the smartphone market to reach 46.9 percent market share.

OEM Market Share

For the three-month average period ending in November, 234 million Americans age 13 and older used mobile devices. Device manufacturer Samsung ranked as the top OEM with 25.6 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers (up 0.3 percentage points), followed by LG with 20.5 percent share and Motorola with 13.7 percent share. Apple strengthened its position at #4 with 11.2 percent share of total mobile subscribers (up 1.4 percentage points), while RIM rounded out the top five with 6.5 percent share.

Top Mobile OEMs
3 Month Avg. Ending Nov. 2011 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Aug. 2011
Total U.S. Mobile Subscribers (Smartphone & Non-Smartphone) Ages 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Share (%) of Mobile Subscribers
Aug-11 Nov-11 Point Change
Total Mobile Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Samsung 25.3% 25.6% 0.3
LG 21.0% 20.5% -0.5
Motorola 14.0% 13.7% -0.3
Apple 9.8% 11.2% 1.4
RIM 7.1% 6.5% -0.6

Smartphone Platform Market Share

91.4 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in November, up 8 percent from the preceding three month period. Google Android ranked as the top smartphone platform with 46.9 percent market share, up 3.1 percentage points from the prior three-month period. Apple maintained its #2 position, growing 1.4 percentage point to 28.7 percent of the smartphone market. RIM ranked third with 16.6 percent share, followed by Microsoft (5.2 percent) and Symbian (1.5 percent).

Top Smartphone Platforms
3 Month Avg. Ending Nov. 2011 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Aug. 2011
Total U.S. Smartphone Subscribers Ages 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Share (%) of Smartphone Subscribers
Aug-11 Nov-11 Point Change
Total Smartphone Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Google 43.8% 46.9% 3.1
Apple 27.3% 28.7% 1.4
RIM 19.7% 16.6% -3.1
Microsoft 5.7% 5.2% -0.5
Symbian 1.8% 1.5% -0.3

Mobile Content Usage

In November, 72.6 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device, up 2.1 percentage points. Downloaded applications were used by 44.9 percent of subscribers (up 3.3 percentage points), while browsers were used by 44.4 percent (up 2.3 percentage points). Accessing of social networking sites or blogs increased 2.1 percentage points to 33.0 percent of mobile subscribers. Game-playing was done by 29.7 percent of the mobile audience (up 1.2 percentage points), while 21.7 percent listened to music on their phones (up 1.0 percentage points).

Mobile Content Usage
3 Month Avg. Ending Nov. 2011 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Aug. 2011
Total U.S. Mobile Subscribers (Smartphone & Non-Smartphone) Ages 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Share (%) of Mobile Subscribers
Aug-11 Nov-11 Point Change
Total Mobile Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Sent text message to another phone 70.5% 72.6% 2.1
Used downloaded apps 41.6% 44.9% 3.3
Used browser 42.1% 44.4% 2.3
Accessed social networking site or blog 30.9% 33.0% 2.1
Played Games 28.5% 29.7% 1.2
Listened to music on mobile phone 20.7% 21.7% 1.0

What are you most excited about in Mobile

Good video interviews from Rob Woodbridge and some of the more forward thinking marketers in mobile. Top themes that emerged form the interview:

  1. People still excited about SMS. Many retailers have realized that even though it’s been around for a while, it’s been underutilized.
  2. The lessening of fragmentation in the market will inevitably create more opportunities. This applies to everything form devices to carrier interoperability.
  3. Latin America (LATAM) is a key opportunity and also a key challenge, both from a technical and best practices perspective.
  4. MMS. People seem exited about it, but it’s still a cloudy topic in need of more clarity

Some themes we were surprised didn’t emerge:

  1. Voice and gesture as a means of communication across all devices.
  2. Mobile transactions, e.g., Square
  3. All-mobile social networks
  4. Mobile gaming. Which has overtaken the traditional gaming consoles and appeals to a broad range of demographics.

Watch video


View overview video

  • Currently 15,000 users
  • Competes with Expedia, Travelocity, etc.
  • Looking to do $1M in revenue by end of 2012

Go to Gtrot site

Behavior and insight on this holiday season’s mobile shopper

Our two cents:
It’s certainly no surprise to learn of the compound growth rate of research and purchases for mobile shoppers. While some retailers made early bets in mobile that have in some cases yielded 20% increase in online sales, most are still trying to define an overall mobile strategy. So when the IBM says things like “Retailers are going to have to do a really good job in targeting their messages and promotions for mobile users” we can’t help but shed some light on what exactly that means for most retailers. Below are a few key points to “getting it right” for any retailer:

  1. Remember that mobile shoppers are surgical shoppers. And just as importnat, remember that shopping on a retailer’s mobile site means visual shopping, especially for ESL shoppers. Therefore, keeping copy to a minimum and getting multiple (and easily downloadable) images on the site is key. With the average mobile device shopper spending about 4 minutes on a site, it becomes imperative for retailers to quickly serve up ONLY the most relevant content. Furthermore, mobile shoppers also tend to do less browsing and look at fewer products when they shop, making it more imperative for retailers to personalize messages and content. Simply put, shoppers go to websites to get ideas, but they go to mobile sites to get what they want.
  2. Use social networks to drive engagement and sales online. Social networks are an important factor in retail. According to IBM Coremetrics data, 9.2% of consumers in October that came to a retailer’s web site from a social media site made a purchase, compared to 5.5% who visited the store site directly. Retailers should not walk away from this fact thinking that adding a social networking step to the shopper journey is the right way to go. “Liking” or “following” a brand on a social network is a non-linear action for shoppers and not part of the traditional sales funnel. Therefore, retailers would be ill-advised to treat it like any other media channel.
  3. Invest in mobile search. This is one of the few silver bullets retailers have in mobile and not nearly enough of them use it. The simple fact is that everyone uses mobile search and with google now running a mobile-specific algorithm, retailers must respond with mobile-specific SEO and SEM strategies.

Read WSJ article

The reason people friend brands on social networks

Our two cents:
The numbers say that nearly half of consumers follow brands because they are seeking discounts. In fact, Nielsen reports that the U.S. exhibits this tendency more than any other country. If that’s true, brands need to ask themselves whether or not their presence on social networks is simply a well packaged coupon site, or if they are truly offering something of value. A good example of that added value is what American Express does in it’s Open Forum. They connect like-minded small business owners to one another in exchange for becoming (and remaining) a card carrying member.

Read full article from Nielsen

The composition of the Social Media Shopper

From Nieslen’s “State of the Media: The Social Media Report”

  • Social networks and blogs continue to dominate Americans’ time online, now accounting for nearly a quarter of total time spent on the Internet
  • At over 53 billion total minutes during May 2011, Americans spend more time on Facebook than they do on any other website
  • Tumblr is an emerging player in social media, nearly tripling its audience from a year ago
  • Nearly 40 percent of social media users access social media content from their mobile phone
  • Internet users over the age of 55 are driving the growth of social networking through the Mobile Internet
  • 70 percent of active online adult social networkers shop online, 12 percent more likely than the average adult Internet user
  • Across a sample of 10 global markets, social networks and blogs are the top online destination in each country, accounting for the majority of time spent online and reaching at least 60 percent of active Internet users