Is Mobile Driving the Increase in Social Media Throughout the World? (with Infographic)

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Broadband Genie. All opinions are 100% mine.

As the cost of smartphone handsets and mobile broadband drops across the globe, the popularity of social media, particularly Twitter and Facebook, shoots up dramatically. The convergence of these two trends is influencing and vastly changing the way we live, how we work and how we communicate with each other.

The folks over at Culture Label share with us some relevant statistics that back up this development – and I have included their excellent infographic at the bottom of this blog post. In 2011 smartphone sales were up 63% year on year, for a total of 488.5 million units sold. In the same year, social networking accounted for 50% of all page views on mobile phones, with Facebook mobile users quadrupling in 2 years from 50 million to 200 million. Over-all, there are 1.2 billion internet connected smartphones presently in use.

Clearly, the numbers are there, but that’s not all. It is interesting to note that the growth in smartphone and social media use is not coming from developed countries, but in fact is driven by users from emerging economies.

Countries such as India, Indonesia, Mexico and the Philippines–all developing countries with a growing middle class–are in the top ten list of Facebook users worldwide. Moreover, while the UK and the US still lead the pack as far as Twitter use is concerned, developing countries are quickly catching-up with their more advanced neighbors. Also, the presence of Chile, Venezuela, Argentina and Colombia at the top of the rankings is particularly noteworthy, as they are not usually thought of as Twitter-intensive countries.

Another survey found that mobile subscribers in the developed world has reached a saturation point with at least one cell phone subscription per person. This means that demand in market growth is pushed by developing countries, led by rapid mobile adoption in China and India, the world’s most populous nations. These two countries collectively added 300 million new mobile subscriptions in 2010, which is more than the total mobile subscribers in the US.

Another thing to consider: according to estimates by  the ITU in 2011, there are 1.2 billion active mobile broadband subscriptions in the world, which makes up 17 percent of the global population. What’s more, mobile broadband users in developed countries often also have a fixed-broadband connection, but in developing countries mobile broadband is often the only way people have access to the internet. This means that in these places, sites like Facebook and Twitter are accessed mainly through the mobile web.

So yes, mobile is in fact driving adoption of social media throughout the world, though it might not be evident to those of us living in the United States or Europe.  The continued growth in mobile will only mean more global users of social media.  Does your business have a plan in place to capitalize on this growing use of Facebook and Twitter from emerging economies?

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professionals strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer


Author, @MaxYourSocial | Founder @msocialbusiness & @socialtoolssmmt | Trilingual Social Media Strategy Consultant, Coach, and Speaker
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