Social Networking Ranks as Fastest-Growing Mobile Content Category

Browser Continues to be More Popular than Applications for Accessing Mobile Web

RESTON, VA, June 2, 2010 – Comscore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released a report on the fastest-growing mobile application and browser content categories based on data from its MobiLens service. The report found that social networking led as the top-gaining category for both application and browser access, confirming the surging popularity of this service on mobile devices. The study also found that accessing Bank Accounts was one of the fastest-gaining categories via both app and browser, as the convenience of mobile banking continues to appeal to a growing number of consumers.

“With mobile media consumption on the rise, the discussion of how consumers are accessing content -- whether it is via application, browser or both -- continues to be an important factor for companies looking to invest further in their mobile brands,” said Mark Donovan, Comscore senior vice president of mobile. “Although application access is clearly on the rise, with several categories more than doubling their audience via this method, content consumption via browser continues to be the most popular method for Americans to access mobile media.”

Smartphone Users Post Triple-Digit Growth in App and Browser Access

In terms of penetration, 78 percent of smartphone users accessed their browser in April 2010, while 80 percent of smartphone users accessed applications. In comparison, just 19 percent of feature phone users accessed their browser, with 17 percent accessing applications. Although smartphone users are driving growth in browser (up 111 percent in the past year) and application (up 112 percent) access, feature phone users still make up nearly half of all users accessing mobile browsers and apps.

“Although growth in application usage on smartphones continues to grab the spotlight in the mobile market, the audience using their mobile browser remains larger and is growing just as quickly,” added Donovan. “Brands need to remember to take into consideration the user experience across both channels when building their mobile strategies.”

Smartphone* and Feature Phone Browser and Application Usage
3 Month Avg. Ending Apr. 2010 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Apr. 2009
Total U.S. Age 13+
Source: Comscore MobiLens
  Apr-2009 Apr-2010 % Change
Total Mobile Market 55,503 72,872 31
Smartphone 17,785 37,577 111
Feature Phone 37,718 35,295 -6
Total Mobile Market 54,414 69,639 28
Smartphone 18,126 38,413 112
Feature Phone 36,288 31,226 -14

*Comscore defines smartphones as a mobile device with the following operating systems: RIM, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Palm, Symbian

Social Networking App Audience More Than Triples in Past Year

In April 2010, 69.6 million mobile users accessed an application on their phone, an increase of 28 percent from the previous year. Several application categories experienced triple-digit growth in the past year, emphasizing the increasing popularity of this method as a form of mobile content access. Social Networking experienced the strongest growth in app access, increasing 240 percent to 14.5 million users. Accessing News apps followed, growing 124 percent to 9.3 million users, while Sports Information apps experienced a 113-percent surge to nearly 7.7 million users. Bank Accounts apps also more than doubled their audience, growing to nearly 5 million users in April.

Fastest-Growing Content Categories via Application Access
3 Month Avg. Ending Apr. 2010 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Apr. 2009
Total U.S. Age 13+
Source: Comscore MobiLens
  Total Audience (000)
Application Access Category Apr-2009 Apr-2010 % Change
Total Audience: 13+ yrs old 232,000 234,000 1
Used application (except native games) 54,414 69,639 28
Social Networking 4,270 14,518 240
News 4,148 9,292 124
Sports Information 3,598 7,672 113
Bank Accounts 2,340 4,974 113
Weather 8,557 18,063 111
Movie Information 3,296 6,359 93
Maps 8,708 16,773 93
Online Retail 1,416 2,701 91
Photo or Video Sharing Service 3,131 5,950 90
Search 5,434 10,315 90

More Americans Still Use their Browser versus Applications

Nearly 73 million mobile users accessed their browser in April, an increase of 31 percent from the previous year. Mirroring application category growth, Social Networking ranked as the fastest-growing category accessed via browser, growing 90 percent from the previous year to reach almost 30 million users, followed by Bank Accounts (69 percent to 13.2 million users). Online Retail sites also experienced a significant increase in audience usage via browser, increasing 47 percent to 7.3 million users, as Americans continued to show adoption of the mobile retail channel.

Donovan continued, “Social networking is by far the fastest-growing mobile activity right now. With 20 percent of mobile users now accessing social networking sites via their phone, we expect to see both application and browser usage continuing to drive future consumption of social media.”

Fastest-Growing Content Categories via Browser Access
3 Month Avg. Ending Apr. 2010 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Apr. 2009
Total U.S. Age 13+
Source: Comscore MobiLens
  Total Audience (000)
Browser Access Category Apr-2009 Apr-2010 % Change
Total Audience: 13+ yrs old 232,000 234,000 1
Used browser 55,503 72,872 31
Social Networking 15,708 29,835 90
Bank Accounts 7,801 13,154 69
General Reference 7,246 12,084 67
Sports Information 14,033 21,549 54
Search 23,266 34,912 50
Stock Trading 3,214 4,817 50
Online Retail 4,968 7,326 47
News 17,957 26,003 45
Movie Information 10,295 14,895 45
Classifieds 7,039 10,181 45

Comscore will be hosting a complimentary webinar, The State of the Mobile: A Fragmented Reality? on Wednesday, June 9 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. For more information and to register for this webinar, please visit:

About Comscore

Comscore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital marketing intelligence. For more information, please visit

Sarah Radwanick
Director, Regional Product Marketing
Comscore, Inc.
+44 (0) 20 7099 1784