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As hot as social media currently is in the US, it’s not quite the force it is across several other countries, according to a comScore report [download page]. And messaging apps are barely registering on the radar of US mobile activity, per the study, which examined use of mobile messaging apps across 9 countries.

Indeed, the 5 major messaging apps combined accounted for just 1.4% of mobile minutes in the US during January of this year. By contrast, these apps accounted for more than 1 in every 8 mobile minutes in countries such as China (13.2%), Spain (14.5%), Brazil (14.6%), and Mexico (15.8%).

Messaging Apps by Region

While Americans clearly prefer Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp is overwhelmingly the messaging app of choice in Europe and Latin America. The relative popularity of Facebook Messenger in comparison to WhatsApp in the US has also been documented in survey research from MetrixLab.

By contrast, native brands such as QQ messenger and WeChat are favored in China.

Time Spent on Social Media

The report illustrates how social media accounts for a significant amount of time spent on mobile devices, with consumers from countries around the world spending from 20 to 40% of all mobile minutes on social media. Americans fall on the lower end of that range with an average of 21.4% of mobile minutes on social media, while Mexicans lie on the higher end of the spectrum, with 38.6% of mobile minutes on social media.

New Trends in Social Media Activity

The report suggests that while social media originated as a space for communication and personal information sharing, it is now becoming the place for the exchange of content. Looking more closely at mobile data from Spain, the data shows a decrease of personal status updates and a gradual rise in links or shared content, especially over Q4 of 2016. Similarly, consumption of personal content has started to level off while the number of posts from outside sources, such as links, posts from public figures, celebrities, brands and organizations have gained traction.

On a similar note, a Mavrck analysis released earlier this year found that engagement with user-generated content on Facebook fell considerably last year.

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