Here are all of the posts tagged ‘Smartphones’.
The name says it all. Facebook has launched a “Lite” version of its social networking service, targeting users in emerging markets where user growth is expected to expand at a rapid pace. According to reports, India is set to be the largest Facebook user base in the world by 2017, so this is hardly a surprising move from Facebook, really.
In sum, Facebook Lite is a stripped-down version of the regular app while retaining all the original functions of the service. It is less than 500 KB in size, and works well on 2G, 3G and 4G networks.
Local communication apps, text are preferred modes of mobile communication in Japan, South Korea
That’s according to a report by Ericsson Consumer Lab, which surveyed 100,000 individuals in Japan, South Korea, India, UK and the US. The findings reveal some interesting insights. For instance in India, users spend nearly half of their time on smartphones on communication apps. In markets like Japan and South Korea, local communication apps are more popularly used as compared to those surveyed in the UK and US markets. Japanese and South Koreans also prefer text over voice calls. According to Ericsson, 1 in 4 Japanese smartphone users do not make traditional voice calls anymore.
Taiwanese chat messaging app Pal+ secure $1.3m in funds
Taiwan chat messaging app, Pal+ has received all of $1.3 million in fresh funds to expand its growing venture. The funds came from Asiasoft, a listed game publisher in Thailand.
Pal+ is a forum-based app which invites individuals with common interests to participate in online discussions. Users get to share and discuss a wide range of topics from entertainment to animation and games, and share them with friends instantly.
Internet.org’s Asia rollout continues in Indonesia
Internet.org has proceeded to launch in Southeast Asia’s most populous nation Indonesia, even in the midst of poor reception in India. The Facebook-backed programme provides internet services to developing countries through a range of free apps and websites. Last week, a group of Indian companies withdrew their support for Internet.org, citing concerns over ‘net neutrality’. They were afraid this would come at the expense of local businesses.
WeChat may soon appear in BMW cars in China
Online messaging in your car is a close possibility, if you’re driving a BMW in China. BMW AG has revealed that it plans to introduce Tencent’s WeChat into its cars in the country. The carmaker says this is coming in response to consumer requests for the app, which currently boasts roughly half a billion active users a month. Ford Motor has also said that its in talks with Tencent to integrate WeChat into their cars.
The astonishing growth of all things digital continues to gather pace around the world, as We Are Social’s new Social, Digital & Mobile Worldwide report on the key social, digital and mobile stats from around the world demonstrates.
It should come as little surprise that much of this growth is being fuelled by connected mobile devices, but this year’s data do reveal some interesting trends and anomalies, especially in relation to Japan and Korea.
You’ll find the complete story in the SlideShare deck above, but we’ve pulled out some of the highlights below.
UPDATE: We’d like to thank the lovely folks at GlobalWebIndex for allowing us to use the data in their premium Active Usage: Social Platforms data pack in this report – you can get more info on this by clicking here.
Adding up all the users in individual countries around the world, there appear to be around 2.5 billion global internet users today – roughly 35% of the world’s population:
While this represents around 150 million more users than this time last year, these numbers may still be conservative. Reliable, recent data for some countries remains patchy, but the International Communications Union estimates that there are probably closer to 3 billion global internet users, with most of the difference made up by mobile-only connections.
Users are still not distributed evenly either, with some parts of the world still struggling to reach double-digit internet penetration. In particular, Africa, Central and Southern Asia all report relatively low numbers, although it’s worth highlighting that mobile internet users may contribute a significant – yet uncounted – increase in these areas.
With reference to the continued growth in internet penetration, it seems clear that mobile connections will account for the vast majority of new sign-ups in the coming months. As the chart below highlights, the distribution of mobile penetration matches much more closely to the distribution of the world’s population, meaning most people around the world now have a realistic opportunity to access the internet:
The cost of mobile data clearly remains a barrier in much of the remaining world, but as costs continue to fall, and as the benefits continue to increase, it’s likely we’ll see more and more people in the developing world putting increased importance on reliable internet access.
Social channels continued to show strong growth over the past 12 months, with top social networks adding more than 135 million new users in the course of 2013.
This number is slightly misrepresentative of actual growth though, as we’ve decided to focus solely on monthly active user figures to report social media usage in this year’s report. As a result, some numbers may appear lower than they did this time last year (when we used total registered user numbers for some platforms), while the actual growth in active usage may appear smaller than it really was.
Due to the different usage contexts, associated behaviours and opportunities for brands, we’ve also chosen to treat chat apps such as WhatsApp and WeChat separately to social networks in this year’s report.
However, these platforms continue to capture significant interest from users and marketers alike, a trend reflected in their huge active user bases:
It also appears that social media is now an engrained part of the lives of people across different demographic groups. This increased ubiquity may result in some changes to the specific demographic bases of individual platforms, but even if people’s habits are changing, it appears that people are moving from one social platform to another, rather than deserting social media in its entirety.
Despite this increasing ubiquity, though, social media penetration remains unevenly distributed around the world:
As might be expected, mobile is playing an increasingly important part in the social media landscape. Facebook reports that almost three quarters of its 1.2 billion monthly active users around the world access the platform through mobile, while on any given day, almost half of its users are mobile only.
The importance of mobile is mirrored across other platforms too, with Twitter increasingly a mobile-dominated platform, and platforms like WhatsApp, WeChat and Instagram depending entirely on a mobile ecosystem.
Given the above, most marketers have now accepted that mobile devices are people’s most important devices, but the opportunities they offer continue to evolve at a staggering pace.
Connected mobile devices have already outpaced more traditional means of internet access such as laptops and PCs, while smartphone sales now outnumber those of feature phones around the world too.
The number of mobile subscriptions jumped by 173 million in 2013, and the number of active mobile subscriptions around the world now equates to roughly 93% of the world’s population.
Penetration rates are more healthy all over the world too, with two-thirds of Africa’s population now mobile powered. Meanwhile, many regions – including those in the developing world – have penetration levels far in excess of 100%:
Mobile broadband access has exploded around the world in recent months too, and 1.5 billion people now have access to relatively fast internet from their mobile devices:
A Regional View
While the picture in many Western countries has converged, there are a number of areas around the world that maintain their idiosyncrasies. In particular, China and Eastern Europe continue to prefer local social networks, while Africa, Central and South Asia are considerably under-represented when it comes to internet penetration:
The world’s most populous region saw another strong year of growth across all things digital in 2013.
China’s social media giants continue to post strong growth, whether it’s active users on Qzone, or the incredible growth of Weixin (WeChat).
However, both Japan and South Korea have seen some fragmentation of the social media landscape, with chat apps like LINE and Kakaotalk continuing to gain momentum. Neither company releases monthly active user numbers though, so it’s hard to know exactly how these platforms compare to the more traditional networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Interestingly, however, ‘claimed’ usage of social media in both countries differs dramatically from the picture painted by Facebook’s monthly active user numbers, suggesting that Northeast Asia’s netizens may be harnessing a wider variety of platforms.
Facebook continues to lead Twitter in both countries though, and appears to maintain its top spot almost everywhere.
China and countries in Eastern Europe host the few exceptions to Facebook’s global dominance, with Qzone and VKontakte claiming the top spots in a handful of nations.
However, with more than 1 billion monthly active users, it’s safe to say that Facebook will continue to play a central role in the social media landscape in 2014 too.
The Local Picture
We’ve gone into an extra level of detail in this year’s report too, offering insights into the local digital ecosystem across 24 of the world’s biggest economies:
Alongside offering the key digital indicators, we’ve also collated some key behavioural indicators, including time spent on the internet and on social media, as well as the prevalence of important activities on connected mobile devices.
You’ll find all the facts and figures for each country in the complete 180+ page report on SlideShare (as embedded at the top of this post), but here are the infographics for China as an illustrative example:
Sources for all the above data are listed in the full report.
Mashable shared this great chart from Statista and GlobalWebIndex that shows the top 10 most-used smartphone apps in the world:
What’s interesting is that 9 out of the top 10 apps are social media-related, with 7 of them dedicated to social communication.
Intriguingly, WeChat / Weixin is already in the top 5 apps globally, putting it in the top 3 mobile social networks in the world.
Yet another reason why brands shouldn’t separate their strategic approach to mobile and social.
KakaoTalk to launch PC version in June
Korean’s leading chat app, KakaoTalk, will soon unveil a PC version of its popular mobile messenger application. It is expected to launch later this month upon completion of its beta test to access user reception. This desktop version is equivalent to its mobile version, with features such as friend lists, chat rooms and notification features. To get on board, users have to register with their computers first and will be notified via the mobile app each time they log in from the PC. This latest move by Kakao could potentially shake the landscape of South Korea’s instant messaging market, with increased chances of users abandoning other desktop messengers, such as NateOn, for KakaoTalk’s upcoming PC version.
China Mobile’s VoIP app, Jego, is set to take on Skype
China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator, will be releasing a VoIP app similar to Skype called Jego. Like other chat apps, it provides free in-app text messaging, video calling and multimedia sharing but has an edge over the rest with its global calling plans to landlines and mobile phones. In fact, its infrastructure is likely to deliver more reliable VoIP calls than Skype and the calls may even be cheaper depending on its offerings. This latest development puts up a good fight for China Mobile against other chat apps and is a great stepping stone for its international expansion.
All-in-one app MelonFriends for the Overseas Chinese
MelonFriends is an Android app that was launched on 3rd June by a startup team in Singapore called Melon Sail. It targets the Overseas Chinese and aims to help them better manage their multiple social networks from both Chinese and overseas platforms namely Sina Weibo, Ren Ren, Facebook and Twitter. Users can view the streams separately or aggregate them into one. With more developments in the works, including interest-based channels and social shopping services, MelonFriends may just be the best native app for the overseas Chinese.
Leaked document reveals Line’s monetization model
As reported by TheNextWeb, Line has been working on official corporate accounts to diversify and increase its revenue streams. Companies can now connect with online users for either six months or a year, with a cap of 15 or 30 messages a month to its followers. Line is expected to earn thousands of dollars per subscribed company, charging company fees for both sending and receiving texts and varying these charges based on the number of followers.
Apart from texts, Line also extends its popular cutesy stickers to companies by offering corporate sticker accounts. Publishing fee for production of stickers will cost NTD 1 million ($33,438) excluding taxes. This allows for 8 downloadable stickers for a period of one month, which can be used by fans for a duration of six months.
Smartphone usage hits 50% in 6 countries
eMarketer research has found that, in 2012, the percentage of mobile phone users with smartphones hit 50% in the UK, Norway, Sweden, South Korea, Australia and the USA, where the figure of 50.1% amounted to a year-on-year increase of 11 percentage points, up from 39.1% in 2011. Other markets are expected to reach the milestone in 2013, particularly in Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland. The global average figure lags slightly behind at less than one third, not expected to approach 50% until 2017, when a figure of 49.3% has been mooted.
Mobile and social set for biggest increase in digital ad spend
The Association of National Advertisers has surveyed 20 major US brands about their digital ad spends, finding that mobile and social are set for the biggest increases. For mobile, 65% plan to increase their budget and 25% keep it the same, with only 10% intended to reduce. For social, 55% are planning to increase their budget, whilst not a single brand had plans to take money away.
Facebook introduces verified pages
As is already the case on Twitter, Facebook has rolled out verified pages for brands, celebrities and public figures. Once an account has been verified, a small blue tick will appear next to the name on their profile and in searches, allowing Facebook users to recognise the true social presence of their favourite brands and celebrities. So far, the network is working on applying the process to those pages with the largest audiences; currently, it is not possible to request verification.
Twitter planning FBX-style ad retargeting exchange
Twitter is rumoured to be planning an ‘ad retargeting exchange’, much like Facebook’s FBX, which would allow brands to retarget people who have visited their website with adverts on Twitter. This could prove lucrative for the network, especially considering FBX’s success. It is worth noting that, as yet, the changes are unconfirmed and Twitter has made no statement about them.
Tumblr to introduce in-steam desktop ads
Just a week after its acquisition by Yahoo, Tumblr has announced plans to roll out in-stream desktop ads next month. The plans would be expected to produce a great increase in Tumblr’s ad revenue from last year’s $13 million, especially with the assistance of Yahoo’s 2,500 strong sales team, compared with the pre-acquisition department of 25. However, one of the greatest fears after the $1.1bn deal that saw Yahoo purchase the network was that of over-commercialisation; it will be interesting to see how users respond to the changes.
We Are Social create social element of adidas’ ‘Nitrocharge’ launch
adidas has worked with a number of agencies including We Are Social to produce an integrated campaign surrounding the launch of its new ‘Nitrocharge’ football boot. The product, aimed at the tireless, fearless ‘Engine’ of a team, is being promoted with the likes of TV ad, mobile game and a social campaign that uses the hashtag #TheEngine to drive interest and tease the boot, followed by a series of local ‘Power Pitch’ competitions to find the ultimate Engine, culminating in a global final held in Brazil, the host country of the 2014 World Cup.
Etihad use LinkedIn to create business-focussed mapping tool
The national airline of United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways, has used LinkedIn to create a mapping tool aimed at increasing the efficiency of business trips. The tool allows business travellers to search their LinkedIn connections by location; these are then displayed on a map, displaying the geographical proximity of the user’s connections at various points on their trip. Detailed search functionality based on area, industry and importance allows contacts to be filtered for increased relevance. Peter Baumgartner, CCO of Etihad, said:
This tool is particularly useful for our guests traveling for business. Ahead of a business trip, the guest can use this tool to see not only his or her immediate contacts in the region, but also second-degree contacts. This fosters more effective networking and greater opportunity to create connections across international boundaries.
Insta-Model campaign to promote Sky Living Series
Sky Living has produced an Instagram campaign called ‘Insta-Model’ to promote the latest series of Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model. Three hashtag-led competitions, dubbed #Pout, #Fierce and #Selfie, will see fans upload photos of themselves in the hope of winning a VIP trip to London, plus the chance to feature in the show’s credits. The winners of each preliminary round will be judged by Dannii Minogue, Elle Macpherson (both judges on the show) and Sky Living respectively, with the overall victor chosen by fans on Twitter.
The consequences of hate-speech on Facebook
As we reported in last week’s Tuesday Tweakup, a great deal of public furore has occurred as a result of Facebook’s failure to adequately monitor content that promoted violence towards women, especially after a number of brands pulled targeted adverts that had appeared alongside it. Facebook has been forced to admit that its hate-speech monitoring has failed, “particularly around issues of gender-based hate”, noting that it plans to crack down harder on such messaging in future. The issue for brands remains the fact that, as Facebook’s ads are targeted by user and not by content, it is impossible to know where on the site your ads will appear. We Are Social’s Robin Grant discussed the problem with Marketing Magazine, pointing out that users will automatically make the connection between the page they are on and the adverts on the page.
They see ads next to content and they make that connection.
As such, brands will have to be vigilant as long as such content remains on the network. Yes, it’s up to Facebook to ensure that inappropriate content is dealt with quickly and adequately, but brands must also have measures in place for when things slip through the net. However, brands can’t possibly respond to the demands of every pressure group, as Robin says:
Brands cannot afford to have their day to day business held hostage by campaigners. It is crucial to take a nuanced approach, you can’t simply respond to everything.