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By the year 2013, 43% of global mobile internet users (607.5 million people worldwide) will be accessing social networks from their mobile devices, according to a new report from eMarketer, which characterizes mobile and social as still-emerging channels that are each helping drive the adoption of the other.

In the US, mobile social networkers will total 56.2 million by 2013, and will account for nearly half (45%) of the mobile internet user population, eMarketer said.

The report, “Mobile Social Networks: Marketing by Location Shows Potential” also revealed that social networking is one of the primary ways mobile users communicate with each other, and is one of the most significant drivers of internet usage on mobile devices.

Top 10 Mobile Social Networks

Not surprisingly, the top destinations for mobile social networkers mirror those for computer users and include Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

The full top-10 list:

  1. Facebook
  2. MySpace
  3. YouTube
  4. Twitter
  5. Yahoo
  6. MSN/Windows Live/Bing
  7. Flickr
  8. LinkedIn
  9. Blogger
  10. MocoSpace

The Advertising Picture

Because both the mobile and social networking channels are still emerging, eMarketer said that estimating the market for mobile social advertising and marketing is premature.

However, the firm expects overall mobile advertising to generate $416 million in US ad spending this year, writes MediaBuyerPlanner. In a similarly optimistic projection, the Mobile Marketing Association expects mobile ad spending to grow 27% to $2.1 billion in 2010.

However, mobile marketing will not truly hit its stride until it overcomes four challenges, MediaBuyerPlanner said:

  • Mobile opportunities must grow. Currently, fewer than one in five Americans has a smartphone, meaning that the most advanced marketing opportunities, like applications, reach only a small percentage of the population.
  • Marketers are still hunting for the “killer app.” Current mobile formats still treat mobile devices like? small computer screens – rather than as opportunities to create highly personalized campaigns that reach users as they go through their day.
  • Marketers that spend money on innovative apps often don’t follow through with ad campaigns. VW, for example, created a GTI application for the iPhone, which has been downloaded more than two million times in just three weeks. But the automaker did not buy mobile ads for the launch and instead put its marketing dollars into the development of the app.
  • The mobile web still lacks standardized methods and an easy way to run campaigns that reach scale. There are also no uniform methods of measurement, and it is a challenge to track mobile campaigns across web campaigns in third-party media planning tools.

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