Death to Internet Week
(Long Live Mobile Week)
originally published in MediaPost's Social Media Insider
Happy Internet Week! Did you realize it was that time of year again? It’s one of the holiest weeks on the digital media calendar, nestled between the first and second Social Media Weeks, and well ahead of Advertising Week and Social Week. Also, don’t confuse it for Foursquare Day or Talk Like a Pirate Day, neither of which take place during Internet Week, but they keep the spirit alive year-round.
Enjoy all these weeks while you can. If they are to maintain their relevance going forward, then all of them will disappear and will be rebranded Mobile Week. Good luck telling them apart, but that would at least achieve some degree of honesty in nomenclature.
Consider some recent milestones:
- Facebook announced it has more than 500 million mobile users. There’s no turning back now that Facebook has the majority of its audience accessing the service from mobile devices. In March, 83 million people used only Facebook’s mobile services and not its online site; this jumped 43% from 58 million in December. For Twitter, this is old hat. Back in September, Twitter’s CEO said that 55% of its active users logged on via a mobile device.
- TechCrunch reported that Facebook’s 900 million users give it a 90% reach of all social media users, based on the 1 billion global social media users mentioned in a new social media report from the ITU. Its reporting could use some work. First of all, a quick search revealed that the ITU cited the 1 billion figure last year, when Facebook had a mere 750 million users. Second, the ITU counts China’s leading social service QQ in the total. QQ has more than 700 million users as of last September. Given that Facebook is banned in China, and given that QQ has also continued to grow rapidly, that means the number of combined users for those services alone is at least 1.6 billion and will likely top 2 billion in the coming months. The growth for QQ is, surprise, getting a major boost from mobile. Its Mobile QQ Game Hall application recently surpassed 200 million users, and that’s just one of several mobile services QQ offers.
- Facebook users are spending more time with the property on mobile devices. comScore reported that U.S. Facebook users spent an average of 441 minutes per month accessing it via mobile properties, compared to just 391 minutes via PCs.
None of this should be particularly shocking. It doesn’t matter whether a site’s offering the weather or selling snowshoes; in time, most of that usage will come from mobile devices. For social media, the changes are happening even faster for two key reasons:
1) Mobile devices have always been designed for communication, so the only difference now is that people are using the devices more for data than voice. Younger Americans prefer texting to talking, and that preference line is creeping into older demographics each year.
2) Social media is increasingly about sharing content. The easiest way to create content – especially anything involving sound, images, or video – is through a mobile device. Once that content is created, it’s now fairly effortless to share it. Sharing content is usually the purpose of creating it. The ends and the means are the same. Why create content? To share it. Why share content? Because it was created.
That’s why all these event weeks can save themselves from irrelevance and rename themselves Mobile Week now. Yet even if you accept the premise for Social Media Week, Social Week, and Internet Week, the one that may be a harder sell is Advertising Week. After all, advertising is everywhere, and it’s not just digital. On top of that, mobile advertising is a tiny share of the pie, and marketers are hardly closing the gap between where they’re spending media dollars and where consumers are spending their time.
Advertising Week should be the first to change its name. It’s traditional advertising – TV, radio, print, out of home, in-store – that’s most likely to reach people who have their mobile devices on them. It doesn’t matter what the call to action is; the mobile device gives consumers a way to express their interest by taking action.
We’ll see which week changes its name first. In the meantime, I wish you a happy Mobile Week, and I hope to see you at the next Mobile Week, which should be coming up any week now.