E-mail may remain the most popular activity among 78 percent of the smartphone-using population, but it's followed closely by browsing and connecting via social media, according to a survey of more than 7,000 people by Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and research firm IDC.
- Browsing the Web was a popular activity for 73 percent of those surveyed, while tapping into Facebook was a top activity for 70 percent.
- Only 16 percent of smartphone usage is dedicated to making calls, compared to 84 percent oriented around texting, using social media or emailing.
- The most popular social activity for users was reading their news feed at 82 percent. Commenting on posts was second on the list but much lower, at 49 percent.
- Finding applications to use was at the very bottom of the social use case list, at a meager 7 percent.
- Users are far more likely to use social apps when doing social activities. For instance, 50 percent of consumers use Facebook when they go to the movies.
Source: IDC and Facebook
"Given most of these people use 7.4 social/comms applications on their phones, we expect that many respondents would feel overwhelmed at the flurry of activity, alerts and notifications," the report says. "The research shows that the overwhelming sentiment from all this activity is one of connectedness... excitement is a distant second," stated the report.
You would expect a study that's sponsored by Facebook to have good things to say about social media, and in this case it's important to note that the emphasis was on social and communications apps. Other categories, such as business apps or even certain lifestyle apps, were not represented.
That said, the research points to what should become a major concern for developers who are identifying Facebook as an important platform to reach their users. If less than 10 percent are using social tools to find apps, it might make sense to put efforts around discoverability elsewhere. Or perhaps the pressure will be on Facebook to provide more opportunities and services to help developers better showcase their apps and games as part of its overall user experience. It's clear from these numbers that people are interested in using social apps, but it's beginning to look harder than ever to become the next Facebook.
- download the full study (PDF)
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