Trends on Tuesday: Mobile Messaging and Social App Research Released

Sep 1, 2015

On DigitalGov, we frequently talk about some of the most popular app experiences, and research almost always shows that mobile messaging and social apps are the most frequently used.

Pew Research released a new report specifically about these wildly popular channels for mobile engagement, specifically focused on how youth use them, with some interesting results that government agencies should pay attention to for their digital strategies.

The report author, Maeve Duggan, said, “The results in this report reflect the noteworthy and rapid emergence of different kinds of communications tools serving different social needs. These new tools add to an already complex and varied terrain of online and mobile interaction.”

Facebook Dominates, by Far

With more than 72% of adult Internet users, Facebook, by far, leads as the top mobile app and messaging channel.

Besides the content on Facebook, when users in the Facebook app go to other websites, they’re kept within the Facebook app and content is displayed within a webview. Facebook drives so much traffic to other sites that it actually makes Facebook’s WebView within their app one of the worlds largest browsers, if not the largest browser, as Benedict Evans, one of the world’s most prominent mobile analysts, proclaimed:

Pinterest and Instagram Have Seen the Largest Growth in the Past Two Years

Although Facebook remains dominate and Twitter and LinkedIn are popular, Instagram and Pinterest had the largest growth in recent years of all the platforms that Pew tracked since 2012—more than doubling their audiences.

Mobile Messaging Apps Are Replacing SMS Texting for Young Adults

SMS text messaging is sometimes used by agencies to send out quick messages to audience members, and Duggan said new mobile messaging is starting to replace traditional SMS: “2015 marks the first time Pew Research Center has asked specifically about mobile messaging apps as a separate kind of mobile activity apart from cell phone texting. And already, according to a new survey, 36% of smartphone owners report using messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Kik or iMessage, and 17% use apps that automatically delete sent messages such as Snapchat or Wickr.”