updated 08:13 am EDT, Tue May 8, 2012
Smartphone users Facebook for longer than PC users
A new analysis undertaken by comScore, using its new Mobile Metrix 2.0 tool, has shown that mobile apps are driving most of the time spent on social networks like Facebook, overtaking traditional computer-based browser access. The typical Facebook user was found to spend 441 minutes of their time accessing the site through their smartphone, which compared with an average of 391 spent by users surfing the site from their computer. A similar trend was seen for mobile-centric brands including Twitter, Pinterest and Foursquare, highlighting the increasingly post-PC nature of Internet use.
Overall access to Facebook remained highest among computer users with Facebook reached around 159 million unique visitors in the US versus around 78 million who accessed it from their smartphones. However, time spent engaging with the site was skewed in favor of mobile users. The comScore findings would appear to have ramifications for Facebook, as it prepares to publicly list the company.
Although Facebook valuations have been estimated as high as $100 billion, ongoing question marks linger as to how it is best able to monetize its extensive global user base. Its recent, and somewhat controversial, acquisition of the popular mobile social photo-sharing app Instagram was driven by a perceived weakness its ability to create value from its mobile users.
Facebook's IPO documentation addresses the issue head-on. It believes its financial performance could be affected by the growth of mobile app access to its site, 'If users increasingly access mobile products as a substitute for access through personal computers...' it contends. Monetization across the site itself still remains a concern as well, although it has recently trialed 'sponsored stories' among other strategies.
Facebook is also rumored to be working with HTC on a more heavily customized Android smartphone. It has previously worked with HTC on Facebook oriented smartphones, but the new device is expected to take Facebook integration to a deeper level. If accurate, the rumor indicates that Facebook is working hard to develop an approach to mobile that will help it capitalize on its wide reach. [via Reuters] [Photo: Sanjiv Sathiah]