AP-AOL Instant-Messaging Trends Survey: Mobile IM Use Up

November 15, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Email | Out-of-Home | Youth & Gen X

Mobile instant-messaging (IM) is growing among IM users, especially teens, according to the second annual “APAOL Instant Messaging Trends Survey,” which found that 25% of respondents send IMs from their cell phones, including one in three (32%) teens.

The proliferation of cell phones with full keyboards has made it easier to send mobile instant messages; also, the major instant messaging services let users have their instant messages forwarded directly to their cell phones; moreover, IM users are instant-messaging from within their social-networking profiles, the survey found.

Instant messaging is popular not only at home and on-the-go but also at the workplace: More than one in four (27%) users say they use instant messaging at work, and half of at-work IM users say that instant messaging makes them more productive at work – a 25% increase over last year.

The most-popular IM service was AOL’s, cited by 54% of teens and adults surveyed; next were Yahoo’s with 41% and Windows Messenger with 35%; MySpace IM was cited by 15% (23% of teens):


Among other top-line survey findings regarding users of instant messaging:

  • Nearly three in four teens (70%) and one in four adults (24%) send more instant messages than emails.


  • Multitasking remains very popular, as IM users tend to engage in multiple online activities while sending instant messages:
  • Checking email is the most popular activity among eight in ten adult and teen IM users.
  • After email, adult IM users most often conduct online searches (49%), while teens say they like to research homework assignments online (57%).


  • Nearly four in five (79%) at-work IM users say they have used instant messaging in the office to take care of personal matters; and 19% of  IM users say they send more instant messages than emails to their co-workers and colleagues.

 Findings about teens and IM use: 

  • More than half (55%) of teen IM users have used instant messaging to get help with their homework – a 17% increase over last year.
  • 22% of teens say they have sent an IM to ask for or accept a date.
  • 43% of teen IM users say they have used instant messaging to say something they would not say to someone in person. Teenage girls are more likely than boys to do so: nearly half of teenage girls, compared with just over one-third of teenage boys.
  • Teens today are more likely to upload photos (42% in 2007 vs. 34% in 2006) while instant messaging. They are less likely to conduct online research for school (57% vs. 63%) or update their blog or social profile (33% vs. 42%) while sending IMs.

About the study: Interviewing for the AP-AOL Instant Messaging Trends Survey was conducted online by Knowledge Networks among a national sample of 1,246 instant messaging users, including 836 adults aged 19 and older and 410 teens age 13-18. Interviews were conducted October 25 through November 4, 2007. Users of any instant messaging service were eligible to complete the survey. Members of the Knowledge Networks internet panel were recruited by telephone polling methods; panelists who were not online were provided with Internet access.

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