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Mobile Social Networking in India on the Rise
Mobile Social Networking in India on the Rise
By: Sahil Shah

For all the folks who consider that mobile Internet penetration is not healthy in India here is a bit of a reality check. Not only the increasing number of mobile Internet users in India is growing but the data usage amongst the existing Internet users is also on the rise. One must be thinking as to what is today’s mobile internet user actually consuming to facilitate its growth against mainstream mobile activities like calling, messaging, listening to audio/video, playing games, etc.

The answer lies in the research conducted by Nielsen Informate Mobile Insights recently. The research states that mobile social networking is the second most favored activity in India after “search” that is the top most activity. This of course is a result of mobile applications that easily synchronizes the phone with all the activities a user does on his/her phone. Surprisingly, almost 93%of the smartphone users in the country access social networking sites via their mobile handsets, according to the report by Nielsen Informate Mobile Insights.

The most obvious fact is that Facebook leads the list on top with 88% users accessing the site via their mobile phones. Facebook’s reach is over five times higher than its nearest competitor Google+ (17%), with Twitter (13%) following a close third. Here is a graphical representation of the reach of social networking application in India:

Despite Facebook IPO being bashed after its initial grand opening and people seem to be having put off by the social network in general, majority of smartphone users don’t seem to think so, at least not in India.  The most preferred mode to access Facebook is through the Facebook app, mainly because it can be easily integrated with other phone functions like instant photo sharing, updates, etc. The report also mentioned that in April 2012, users had accessed the Facebook app on 17 days out of the total 30 and the average time spent daily on the app on these days was 12 minutes per user. Although a considerable number of users accessed the app throughout the day, the engagement levels peaked at night i.e. a user spent around 5 minutes on Facebook at night, compared to spending just 2 minutes in the morning. One of the interesting findings in the report was that one in three Facebook users did not use any other social networking website via his/her smartphone. One of the biggest challenges that still remain for Facebook is onmonetization of its mobile platform in India as the same continues to grow faster than the web version of the social networking giant.

The report also states that the social media awareness and smartphone availability as well as affordability have positively impacted the rise of social networking on mobile phones. Also, the fact that social networking apps offer seamless integration with other phone functions has only added to the trigger. The mobile internet penetration is high and this platform with the ever increasing VAS will just be one of the core share holders for revenue generation in India. Do let us know in the comments section as to what you think about the current and future growth of mobile internet and mobile social networking in India.