social media apps mobileDespite the fact that mobile surpassed desktop web traffic for the first time earlier this year and all signs say there is no turning back, many publishers still haven’t prioritized mobile or considered mobile-only audiences in their content strategies. At the same time, social referrals are gaining more importance, but still, many publishers haven’t prioritized social media referrals in their content strategies. Perhaps some new data from comScore will help push these publishers into the mobile and social worlds.

According to comScore’s 2014 U.S. Digital Future in Focus report, desktop web usage has been fairly flat during the past 12 months while mobile usage continues to “surge.” In fact, the growth of mobile-first social media platforms like Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat demonstrates that mobile-first—something that many people argue is years and years away—is already here. Let’s take a closer look at the data.

Mobile Leads Desktop for Social Media Use

The comScore research analyzed eight of the top social media platforms in the United States during December 2013: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, and Snapchat. According to comScore, LinkedIn and Tumblr were the only social media platforms where users spent more time on the platforms using desktop computers than mobile devices, and Facebook was the only social media platform where more users accessed the site using multiple devices (i.e., desktop and mobile) than a single platform only.

You can see the statistics from comScore for the share of time spent on social networks via desktop vs. mobile in the U.S. below:

  • LinkedIn: 74% desktop vs. 26% mobile
  • Tumblr: 54% desktop vs. 46% mobile
  • Facebook: 32% desktop vs. 68% mobile
  • Twitter: 14% desktop vs. 86% mobile
  • Pinterest: 8% desktop vs. 92% mobile
  • Instagram: 2% desktop vs. 98% mobile
  • Vine: 1% desktop vs. 99% mobile
  • Snapchat: 0% desktop vs. 100% mobile

Mobile First is Here

For social media, mobile first is here for all but two platforms—LinkedIn and Tumblr. Of the eight social media platforms analyzed in this study, three of them are actually mobile-first platforms: Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat. Content for these social media platforms is meant to be published and shared using mobile devices as the primary tool. For anyone who questioned the viability of short-form mobile content such as images and short videos, the results are in and that short-form content is doing quite well.

In other words, mobile first is playing an important role in the strategic decision-making of content publishers and content consumers—from the type of content created, when, where, and how that content is published, and who and why that content shared. If you haven’t prioritized mobile in your content strategy yet, you need to do it now.

Image: Jason Howie