Learning From the Success of Social Media in Mobile

This week, Mobile Metrix 2.0 released by comScore revealed that the vast majority of time spent with mobile media happens via apps (at more than 80%!).
This comes as no surprise to most smartphone users who are likely to download apps simple to remove steps in accessing content.  We aren’t surprised either, and it shows the power of improvements in user experience on engagement stats.

Another key take-away is consideration of how important content discovery is in social networks (and apps specifically) along with actions that should be in apps, like sharing to social networks.

Social networks, utilities and games will continue to be some of the most highly engaged types of mobile content, but media publishers can take solace in some key takeaways that can be applied to their products today:

1)   Learn from game dynamics.  If the vast majority of time spent in mobile are in games and utilities, and they share similar patterns of engagement, there may be opportunities to emulate these functions for your own success.  The side benefit is that many of these apps also use these engagement models for their primary monetization (things like prompts to use earned credits for an augmented experience, or offers to purchase more experience).

2)   Social networks are communities for discovery.  If your app does not plug into the relevant communities with an easy sharing experience, you may be leaving the opportunity for content and app discovery on the table.  This sort of “free” promotion is something all publishers should be taking advantage of.

3)   Apps matter.  Nearly all of the brands listed in the comScore studied have a mobile web presence, and many in fact offer HTML versions of their destination.  Still, much more time is spent in apps than on the web, and a more highly engaged audience is one that can then be monetized more easily.

Do you have suggestions for what publishers should do to take advantage of the usage of social networks in mobile? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or on Twitter.