Mobile devices: the future of social networking

Social media is radically transforming the way consumers are engaging with brands. New research from Nielsen and NM Incite has shown that consumers’ purchasing decisions are increasingly influenced by the growth of the mobile device market.

Mobile devices give consumers the power to interact with their social networks regardless of location, allowing almost instant access to information on products and services. Brands can offer tailored deals and stronger buying incentives while they interact with a potential consumer, meaning that a thorough understanding and proficient use of social media is essential for any brand to avoid falling behind competitors.

Smartphones and tablets

The growth in the mobile device market illustrates the growing importance of social networking. 46% of social media users now use mobiles to connect to the internet, meaning that brands are dealing with a highly mobile consumer base. A consumer who is almost constantly linked and interacting with the digital world is connected with other potential consumers and sources of relevant information. A brand’s presence online has become increasingly important, and social networks allow an interactive platform from which to connect with a growing and consumer base.


The trend towards using mobiles has been accompanied by a growth in app use. Time spent on mobile apps has increased by 120% over the last year. There has been a 63% of year-on-year growth in time spent on social media, with intuitive design and ease of use considered a driving force behind consumer behaviour as users begin to move away from simple mobile browsing.

The ways in which consumers connect to the internet are increasingly influenced by social networking applications which provide links to secondary sites and apps. Time spent on social media is up 76%, with over seven times more minutes spent using social media apps than general mobile web surfing.

This change provides brands with a means of creating a carefully controlled online presence, which can draw consumers towards specific content and encourage the sharing of services and products, using social networks.

More than ever consumers are communicating about their purchases and experiences and becoming integral parts of purchase choices. Inter-consumer communication and sharing is vital, as the Nielsen study shows that more than a quarter of social media users are more likely to pay attention to an ad shared by a social connection.

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