Mobile social networking touches 35.7%

During the three-month average ending January 2012, 35.7% of US mobile subscribers used accessed a social networking site or blog on their mobile device, up 10.5% from the three-month average ending October 2011, and representing 41.1% year over year growth, according to comScore Mobile Metrix data.

Texting remained the most common activity, used by 74.3% of US mobile subscribers, up 3.2% from 71.1% for the three-month average ending in September. According to a February report from Nielsen andNM Incite,social networking applications accounted for 5.5% of time spent on mobile phones in October 2011, compared to 13.3% for text messaging.

Meanwhile, comScore data shows application downloading (47.6%) and browser use (47.5%) both growing in engagement and continuing to run neck and neck, as they were for the 3-month average ending in December 2011.

Other mobile activities also saw an rise in subscriber engagement from the prior three-month period, including game-playing, which grew 8.9% to 31.4% of the mobile audience.

Additionally, 23.8% of mobile subscribers listened to music on their phones (up 15.6% from 20.9% the prior period). A March 2012 report from the NPD Group suggests that the increase in mobile devices is contributing to growth in digital music downloads, with the number of paid download buyers increasing 14% in 2011 to 45 million customers.

comScore estimatesthat nearly one-third of all U.S. mobile users are now accessing social media services, and that close to 40 million Americans are doing so on an almost daily basis.

“This behavior is even more prevalent among smartphone owners with three in five accessing social media each month,” says Mark Donovan, comScore SVP for mobile.

Of course, with the increase in mobile social activities, Facebook, Twitterand Linkedinare experiencing a measurable influx in mobile activity.

Facebook’s U.S. monthly mobile audience grew 50% year-over-year to 57 million, while Twitter’s mobile user base skyrocketed 75% to 13.4 million monthly users, according to comScore. LinkedIn also jumped to 5.5 million monthly U.S. mobile users, a 69% increase over the previous year.

The most predominant change in mobile social networking behaviors, according to comScore, is that more mobile users are accessing social media via mobile apps. More than 38 million folks accessed a social networking site or blog via an app in August, representing a 126% change from one year ago.

But with 42 million U.S. mobile users accessing social media sites via a mobile browser, the browser still remains the most popular mode of social networking on mobile — for the time being.

The bottom line: Social networking by way of mobile devices is on the up-and-up.

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