Social Networks Key Way to Target Gen-Mobile

NEW YORK Americans who visit social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace are more than three times as likely to download music or video files on their mobile phones than those who have never entered such sites, according to a new report from Ipsos Insight.

The report, “Profile: Social Networker,” also shows that social networkers in the U.S. are more than twice as likely to send a text message, play a video game, pay a bill or download a ring tone or game on their mobile devices than their non-networking counterparts. Less dramatic but still statistically significant were differences when it comes to e-mailing, searching Web sites or transmitting digital photos. More than half the U.S. social networkers polled have used mobile devices to perform such acts, compared to, for example, only 29 percent of the non-networkers who transmit photos on the run.

Clearly, social networkers have embraced the practice of multitasking on their phones and as such, the report further quantifies the advertising opportunities for marketers. “Some of this is pretty intuitive,” said Donna Wallace, vp of media, entertainment and technology at Ipsos Insight in San Francisco. “People have been talking about this for some time. … The whole conversation now is around advertising on , how effective [it is], who are you targeting. [And] if you want to reach somebody who is engaged in mobile activities … that seems like a prime target.”

Also, as broadband expands and manufacturers extend the capabilities of devices, the wireless behavior will likely become more commonplace, particularly in the U.S., Wallace said. “It seems the more feature-rich the device, the more likely they’re going to engage in the behavior,” she added. “Look at the iPhone coming out. Touch-screen technology. It’s an entirely different device compared to your basic cell phone.”

The report’s findings were based on phone or in-person interviews with 3,641 people, including 796 in the U.S. and 2,845 in 11 foreign countries. Of the total, 998, or 38 percent, qualified as social networkers. The remaining 2,643 had not visited social sites at all.

Ipsos’ report also found that U.S. networkers are more technology hungry than their international peers. Among U.S. respondents, 98 percent own DVD players, 89 percent own digital cameras and 66 percent own game consoles, compared to 73 percent, 78 percent and 45 percent, respectively, among international respondents. The only gadgets that international networkers are more apt to own than their U.S. peers are MP3 players (63 percent international versus 61 percent U.S.) and mobile GPS devices (31 percent international versus 23 percent U.S.).

The U.S. and international social-networking segments both skewed male, more so internationally (59 percent male, 41 percent female) than domestically (54 percent male, 46 percent female), Wallace said. Thirty-three percent of the male social networkers in the U.S. were in the 18- to-34-year-old age bracket, compared to 27 percent of the female networkers. The like figures for that age range internationally were 36 percent male and 27 percent female.