Thanks to Facebook’s filings with the SEC, we now have access to a treasure trove of Facebook data.  And one metric everyone seems to be keeping their collective eyes on is mobile-social growth.  

It’s going up…fast.

According to comScore, US Facebook users are now for the first time accessing the network from mobile devices more than from desktops or laptops. 

Average U.S. users spent 441 minutes accessing Facebook from mobile devices in March compared to 391 minutes for desktop/laptop use. Facebook now says it has 488m mobile active monthly users, a 14% increase from December.

Driving the mobile usage surge is the proliferation of smartphone growth. IDC recently revealed that 59% of all mobile phone owners possess a smartphone as opposed to a basic mobile device, with that percentage expected to rise sharply over the next five years as smartphones continue to replace traditional handhelds.

Mobile-social growth impacts everyone, from consumers to brands to investors, though for slightly different yet similar reasons. Facebook needs to monetise that growing number of mobile users without disrupting the user experience. 

Too many ads, users cringe. Too few ads, revenue decreases and the markets notices.

Today’s social marketer needs to stay on top of these trends as consumers are increasingly interacting with content via smartphones. Marketers must understand the demand that puts on their social content strategy. 

As social matures, led by Facebook, brands will need to develop a more integrated POEM (Paid, Owned & Earned) strategy. Facebook underscored this with the introduction of Sponsored Stories and Reach Generator.

Consumers are increasingly making the social web the center of their digital world. Yesterday’s brand website is becoming today’s Facebook Page. But this presents incredible opportunities.

Below are just a few key ideas for marketers to consider as they strive to better reach today’s mobile-social consumer: 

Mobile optimisation now includes social 

With more people accessing Facebook via mobile Web, Facebook announced at Mobile World Congress that the company is focusing on building out more effective mobile solutions to aid in app discovery, payments and mobile browser fragmentation. 

Marketers should be eager to execute on the bevy of new opportunities this presents to optimise content for mobile and achieve maximum engagement and effectiveness. If you don’t, then you are missing almost 50% your audience, with 488m monthly mobile users (and growing) on Facebook.

Bridge the digital & physical worlds

Effectively engaging your social consumer while on the go provides many added benefits. Think commerce, location-based apps, and real-time targeting. Mobile marketing allows brands to reach and engage with a consumer when they are closest to activities such as shopping and eating.

Delivering consumers real-time deals and coupons by location and activity can achieve tremendous results.  It’s about delivering relevant content at the opportune time.  It’s the blending together of the digital and physical worlds, giving brands a chance to expand and enhance the consumer relationship. 

Understand behavior and usage differences

As consumers continue to upgrade from traditional cellphones to smartphones, mobile behavior will further evolve, and marketers must stay abreast of the latest mobile consumer behavior data. If you understand the behavior and usage differences, you can deliver more relevant and engaging content. 

In our white paper, Social Mobile User Engagement, we explored performance metrics via mobile including: image and text posts perform better; Thursdays – Sundays are more effective posting days; shorter posts are more effective; and post with links receive higher engagements, to name a few. 

Further, as smartphone usage expands and speed and download times increase, look for video and rich media content engagement to also increase.

Facebook recently unveiled new App Insights metrics, offering mobile referral data from their dashboard to help “understand the traffic your app receives from Facebook mobile sources” and “continue optimising distribution via mobile social channels”.

Ensuring that a Facebook app is Flash-free and optimised for whichever screen users are using is vital. Facebook’s new App Insights metrics is a great tool for helping marketers understand where broken experiences may be occurring and helping them hone in on behavior and usage differences between mobile and non-mobile devices. 

In the mobile kingdom, content remains king

Facebook had never talked so much about mobile than it did at its Facebook Marketing Conference (fMC) earlier this year. It has continued that focus leading up to its IPO. 

Revealing Timeline for brand pages, unveiling ads for mobile devices along with several other features and functions, Facebook showed it understands how the location of premium ads needs to be different in a mobile environment vs. desktop web. 

All of this followed Twitter’s announcement they it is expanding its mobile advertising strategy, “making promoted tweets visible in its apps for iPhone and Android devices”.

All of these upgrades are about content – promoting and highlighting premium content in feeds is just one piece of the puzzle. To garner attention, the content still has to be engaging, feel personal to the consumer, and exhibit relevance.

In conclusion

The industry is still in the very early stages of the mobile-social revolution, but we know this space will move forward rapidly, bringing changes, developments and opportunities daily. 

From our own data, we see that mobile engagement on Facebook more than doubled in just six months for the brands we manage.

The percentage of Likes from mobile across our client base went from around 15% in the middle of last year to 40% of all Likes by December. We expect that to hit 60% by the end of the year. By staying focused and having the right partners, marketers can achieve success with today’s new mobile-social consumer.