Mobile is central to our experiences online, and the reality is some social platforms are just better on mobile. Chances are good that you’re reading this article on your mobile phone, or maybe you’re simultaneously reading this and scrolling through Socality Barbie’s Instagram account that your coworker just G-chatted to you. Your mobile behavior probably isn’t too far off from some recent stats on mobile usage.
According to a recent poll released by Pew Research, the “proportion of online adults who use Pinterest and Instagram has doubled since Pew Research Center first started tracking social media platform adoption in 2012.” Additionally, “31 percent of adults are on Pinterest (up from 15 percent in 2012) while Instagram is up to 28 percent (up from 12 percent in 2012).”
While Facebook remains the overall most popular social site with 72 percent of adults using the platform, according to the same Pew Research poll, the number of new users has plateaued. One factor that may determine the plateau of new users may be the difference in mobile experience across different social media platforms.
Why Instagram Is Better at Mobile:
- Instagram is sleeker—it provides a continuous scroll of beautiful images. There are no annoying political articles or photo albums with 600+ vacation pictures from over-zealous Facebook friends.
- I get what I want—unlike Facebook. Facebook chooses which posts and people I see, but on Instagram if I follow someone, I see all their posts.
- Hashtag searching is slick and fast—have you ever tried to search a hashtag or keyword on Facebook? By the time the next piece of content loads into the pop-out window you could have been 20 photos deep into #taylorswiftscats.
- I only need one hand to scroll and it’s emoji friendly.
Why Pinterest Is Better at Mobile:
- What I want when I want it—Pinterest makes it easy to find recipes, styles and even gift ideas in less than two minutes. What have you got Facebook? Another Bernie Sanders article? No thanks.
- It’s gorgeous. You’re waiting for your oil change to finish up and you just want something beautiful to distract you. Pinterest has you covered.
- Like Instagram, it gives me what I want. I follow a board and their pins show up on my feed. Pinterest even goes so far as to recommend other Paleo cooking accounts I might like, and I do.
- It’s easy for my little fat fingers to like, comment and repin.
But Facebook Is Trying
It should be noted that while Facebook is trailing behind in the mobile experience, Instagram and Pinterest are both predominantly mobile experiences. Instagram doesn’t even let you upload photos via desktop. In fact, according to Instagram, 47 percent of users access the site via mobile phone and 53 percent via tablet—virtually no desktop usage is reported.
Pinterest’s traffic is 80 percent mobile, which may seem surprising, but it makes sense because of its largest demographic: mom’s on-the-go. Still, Facebook has reported that out of its 1.49 billion active monthly users, 88 percent are active on mobile.
It wouldn’t be fair to omit Facebook’s efforts to become more mobile friendly. We all remember how annoying it was when Facebook introduced their separate Messenger app, but it was one move towards a more mobile-friendly experience. Since then, Facebook has gone through several redesigns of its app, added a “share now” button and has tried to make the platform behave less like its desktop version. These are great steps, but the recent survey results say it’s just not enough. Facebook will need to make some changes if they want to continue to compete with other social platforms on mobile.
Jessica Fredrickson is a community manager at CLEARLINK, where she develops strategic digital content and oversees social media plans for several brands. She has a BA in Strategic Communications and is completing her MA in Organizational Leadership. Follow her on twitter @jessfred_pr.