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Smarter Commerce | August 29, 2014

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Which Screen To Use When

Todd Watson

ShareThis just announced some intriguing new research on the continuing and seismic shift from PC to mobile content consumption.

According to their website, ShareThis monitored some 4.9 million “signals” on the desktop web and mapped those against 1.2 million signals on the mobile web.

They then examined the nuances in sharing behavior between various devices across the 2.4 million sites in the ShareThis network to try and answer some key questions, including:

 

  • On which devices are people more social?

  • How do people utilize social channels across their various devices?

  • What kinds of content do people share on desktop versus mobile?

  • When are people more social throughout the day on desktop versus mobile?

  • Which devices generate the most influential shares.

 

On the first count the results indicated that desktop activities still dominate a large portion of online activities throughout the day. Desktop usage grows from early morning and stays high from around 9 am to 3 pm. From 3 to 5, desktop usage decreases and reaches a low point around 5.

This makes sense, as lots of folks are leaving the office, commuting, picking up the kids, etc.

When they get home, desktop usage climbs up again until around 8 pm, then decreases on into the night.

In terms of sharing, those who do so using mobile devices outpace desktop sharers by a factor of two. And no huge surprise (although if you’re an Android user, it might be surprising), the iPhone is the most commonly used mobile device for social sharing.

 

Users are three times more likely to share content via their iPhone versus their desktop, and 1.5x more likely to share on their iPhone versus all other mobile devices.

 

When it comes to venue selection, Facebook accounts for 60% sharing on mobile, and Pinterest is almost three times more represented on mobile than on desktop.

For those living in the Jurassic Age, email sharing happens on the desktop but rarely on mobile.

Facebook is also clearly the most dominant social channel during the day, with consistently high usage throughout the day. Twitter and Pinterest follow well behind.

Then there’s the iPhone/iPad “rift”: On iPads, Pinterest is the most dominant social channel throughout the day, with Facebook and Twitter following. And those most “Pinterested” are active more in the night than the daytime.

Now as to what folks are sharing. The top shared content categories on Facebook for iPhone users include Family & Parenting, Arts and Entertainment, Health, Technology, and Government.

The top shared content categories on Pinterest for iPad users includes Food and Drink, Family and Parenting, Fashion and Beauty, Home and Garden, and Home and Fitness.

 

ShareThis comments that “what is interesting from the comparison is that the screen size of the device suggests a material impact on the types of content people are likely to consume and share.”

 

For iPads, people browse and share a lot of recipes, fashion, and home and garden subject matter, content with more grapics…hence the high use of Pinterest.

On iPhones, people socialize with their friends, listen to music, and read news updates, and hence the Facebook focus.

Are we seeing a Balkanization of mobile use cases? Not necessarily, but I do think the implications of this consumption analysis in terms of social commerce are profound, and if marketers are smart, will start to respond to some of these “signals.”

To whit, it’s highly intriguing to me that Apple has apparently been investigating larger screen sizes, at a time when many are whetting their appetites for the newer, faster, smaller iPad Mini.

 

For those managing content streams in the social realm, I think there’s an opportunity to start taking the notion of the traditional “day part” and breaking it out in terms of which properties they’re feeding which types of content and when.

 

This data also has potential to reshape existing POE strategies (Paid, Owned, Earned), helping social buyers better understand what bets to place on what properties and during which times of day.

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