As content marketing and social media strategy consultants, it is crucial to anticipate and respond to consumer trends and behaviors. No behavior has had more implications on marketing communications than the continuous and increasing adoption of smartphone devices.

From voice search upending traditional SEO strategies to mobile 1:1 design aspect ratio driving social media content strategy, smartphones are forcing organizations and social media marketing agencies to adjust their communications strategies to best reach and engage their target audiences. According to Statista, as of 2021, 85% of Americans own a smartphone. That’s almost 282 million smartphone users just in the U.S. And the frequency with which Americans are turning to their smartphone devices is increasing year over year. As shown in the chart below (from StatCounter Global Stats), mobile devices overtook desktop for the first time ever in December 2019. This consumer preference fluctuated throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but the adoption trend is expected to resume and persist as the world begins to reopen.

Line chart

Social media and digital content consumption are seeing even faster adoption. According to a 2021 DataReportal study, 63% of all Americans 12 years and older are using Facebook, and of those, 98.3% access the social network using their mobile device. LinkedIn boasts 174 million users in the U.S., and 57% of users access the professionally minded social network via mobile. One in five Americans use Twitter, and of those, 80% access the platform via mobile, according to eMarketer.

Even YouTube is seeing more than 70% of views come from mobile, though all its content is already optimized for mobile, and users are accustomed to viewing YouTube videos in standard landscape view. Instagram, TikTok and SnapChat understood this mobile consumer trend and designed their platforms to be mobile-first from inception. Given these trends, it is clear that the masses are reaching more and more for their smartphones rather than their desktops — or tablets for that matter.

While it’s important to consider macro trends in your social media marketing strategy, considering an organization’s unique audience segments and whether they are following or bucking this trend is critical. There are several ways you can determine whether your audience is following this mobile-first trend:

  1. Explore Facebook Audience Insights, which allows you to drill down against all devices used to engage with your brand on Facebook
  2. Analyze paid social media advertising reports, breaking down performance by device; this will allow you to easily determine which device types your target audience favors
  3. Examine social media website referral traffic using Google Analytics, and apply a filter for devices; this will show which devices referred the most engaged traffic and conversions from social media channels

We have found this mobile-first behavior to be a common trend across social media channels and the industries we serve. While mobile-first may not be for every organization, it certainly warrants a closer look to ensure you are delivering the best social media user experience to your target audiences.

And as you revisit your social media strategy, longtime CEO and executive chairman at Google, Eric Schmidt, said it best: “Mobile will ultimately be the way you provision most of your services. The way I like to put it is, the answer should always be ‘mobile-first.’”

Schedule a consultation with CSG today to explore social media optimization and management services to unlock opportunities within your organization.