Social Consumers and Smartphones 2011In fall 2011, the Pivot Conference undertook a two-part study of the state of Social. The purposeof the study was to glean what Social Professionals felt about Social Consumers, their activitiestoday and likely status one year from now and, separately, to gauge the current actiivities andattitudes of Social Consumers themselves.The Social Professional perspective was released in early December 2011 in the report: TheState of Social Marketing: 2012. This current report, by contrast, examines the responses fromSocial Consumers themselves about what they are doing and where. In an upcoming report wewill compare and analyze the two sets of responses side-by-side.This research was undertaken in partnership with Crowdtap, a social marketing platform thatenables major brands and agencies to identify and connect with their influential consumers. Us-ing the Crowdtap system, Pivot launched a series of questions that overlapped those asked ofSocial Professionals in Pivot’s companion research. The research was in the field from October6, 2011 to October 17, 2011. The number of respondents, along with their basic demographiccharacteristics are shown in the responses to each question.Due to the abundance of studies focusing on Social activities on the Web, Pivot focused on theless intensely studied, but increasingly central Social mobile space. In the summer of 2011, themost common info travelling over the Internet became a video bit aimed for a mobile device.In other words, the median of the Net moved from PCs to cell phones, indicating where SocialConsumers are now focusing their time and attention. So, it seemed appropriate to get an initialsense of their Social mobile experience.
Social Consumers favor iPhones for accessing Social media apps. While numerous marketreports have shown that Android Smartphones significantly outrank iPhones in market penetra-tion, respondents to the survey most often use iPhones for apps, with Android second. Beyondthose two platforms, Social Consumers seem to have little interest. This is a two-horse race.
Facebook Mobile heavily dominates as the most common app accessed by Social Consumerson Smartphones, with more than 80 percent penetration. Unsurprisingly, Twitter comes second,though the gap is surprisingly large. Also surprising is the strength of Foursquare and Gow-alla, indications of the increasing value of geo-centric apps. Facebook’s acquisition of Gowalla,which occurred after this survey was fielded, should increase its dominance in this space. The13 percent who use none of the apps is interesting. Possibly, this indicates that for some SocialConsumers the stream remains primarily PC-centric.
When it comes to games, Social Consumers favor Zynga. But, what is more interesting is thestrength of ngmoco. This Japanese game company has barely announced itself in the U.S. andyet has already made an impression. This may point to a challenge for Zynga in maintaining itsedge in the space, especially as it takes on the burdens of being a public company. ngmoco isalready public and solidly profitable in Japan and so may have an edge in a public battle withZynga, which will be under heavy pressure to maximize profitability following its recent IPO.
Social Consumers are significantly less active with photo services than in other app areas; amajority aren’t doing this activity at all yet. Among those that are active, no single player seemsto have a firm hold. It appears that Social Consumers are still making their minds up on thevalue of photo services and which one to use.
Groupon and Coupons.com are the favorite apps Social Consumers turn to for deals. Of particu-lar note, is the strength of Facebook Deals. Facebook closed this service going into fall 2011,just as this survey was fielded. What might appear to be a big win was seen by Facebook asless valuable than other available opportunities. This could be because Facebook decided itcould make more money encouraging many partners to make offers on its platform; it certainlywasn’t because consumers weren’t responding to the service. A vast majority of Social Consum-ers use online deal sites; the “don’t use” response is among the lowest in the survey. Also, giventhe high numbers for several players, it seems probable that the typical Social Consumer usesseveral couponing sites.
While Google has no presence in deals, when it comes down to checking price, nearly 8 outof 10 Social Consumers turn to Google. Google’s dominance in price comparison rivals Face-book’s overall penetration. Google is even stronger than Amazon, the dominant seller, whichmakes sense if one of the most common activities is checking whether there is a better priceavailable somewhere on the net than Amazon offers.
Social Consumers are coming to demand deals or other loyalty benefits as a requirement forengaging with brands. Deals dominate at 83 percent positive response, with loyalty not farbehind at 70 percent of respondents. However, these are the leaders in a broad field of benefitsSocial Consumers seek. Content shows support as does the opportunity for Social Consumersto be invited to provide insight on unreleased products. In sum, the results show a Social Con-sumer who equates engagement with being treated by a brand as someone deserving of spe-cial treatment.
What kinds of media do Social Consumers share with those in their Social graphs? Two aspectsjump out of the responses here. First, nearly a third of Social Consumers say they don’t shareand want their information and activities kept private. This indicates that, while virtually everoneis active in Social networks, many remain passive receivers of information and haven’t yet fullydived into the give-and-take of the stream. Among those who do share, it seems that they areopen to sharing numerous media types as well as location information.Overall, this research indicates a close correlation between Social and mobile among consum-ers. They are two sides of the same coin. Smartphones and other mobile devices provide onemore, uniquely geographically enhanced, access point into the Social stream. Social activitiesrepresent a strong thrust for app usage on mobile devices. While the research did not specifi-cally delve into this question directly, we see the interplay between mobile and Social growingever closer and deeper in the months ahead. Taken together, they represent, in our view, theessential thrust of technology development for consumers.