According to a Sept 2011 Nielsen study smartphones have grabbed 40% market share in the U.S. That means 4 in 10 Americans who own mobile devices own smartphones. The other six own feature phones for now at least. Nielsen projects that smartphones will pass feature phones in the U.S. and reach 50% market share by Christmas 2011. This is all the more amazing considering only 21% of American wireless subscribers were using a smartphone as of the fourth quarter 2009. Data such as these are sending marketers into a frenzy as they rush to engage consumers in this new and exciting channel.
Given this rapid adoption of smartphones by average consumers, we were curious to see if social sports fans (i.e. fans who follow pro and college sports team on Facebook and / or Twitter) were adopting smartphones at similar rates. Turns out they’re not. Sports fans adopting smart phones WAY faster the mainstream average. In some cases, 9 of 10 avid fans already have smartphones. So for any sports marketer who didn’t get out of bed this morning thinking about smartphones, then consider this your wake up call.
Check out the graphic, then meet me at the bottom of this post so we can consider some of the implications of these data.
Sports Marketing from Coyle Media, LLC.
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So what does this data mean?
As you can see, fans who follow American team sports on Facebook & Twitter are in some cases 2x more likely to own smart phones than average. In some cases, nearly 100% of survey respondents indicate smartphone ownership! That’s staggering. And for sports marketers who still thinking the iPhone is the only game in town, it’s not. While more Twitter followers own iPhones, more Facebook fans own Androids. And since Facebook has more people, Android has actually surpassed iPhone overall.
So what does this mean for your organization?
The answer to this question will depend on the state of your current mobile strategy. If you don’t have a mobile strategy, you better get one since your most avid fans are adopting smartphones at alarming rates that far exceed the national average. If you’re not there, you’re missing an important opportunity.
If you’ve only got eyes for iPhone, you better get serious about the Droid too since as of this minute, more fans have Androids than iPhones. (Before worrying about iPad, perhaps consider do something for Android phones first).
And get ready for a long and exciting road ahead
It’s early days for both social media and smartphones, and these are just a couple surface level insights. For deeper “ah ha” moments, you’ll want to dig through some of the other 50 questions in the Social Sports Poll so you can see how fans answered questions about not just how they use their smart phones, but how they use social media overall.
More information about the Social Sports Poll:.
The Social Sports Poll is an ongoing, global survey of people who are following sports properties on Facebook or Twitter. Coyle Media manages the Poll and creates the survey which is distributed directly by sports properties to their fans via Facebook and Twitter updates. The Poll has been fielded by more than 20 sports properties across three continents so far, and over 20,000 completed surveys have been collected. To date we have fielded two waves of research, keeping the number of participating sports properties small, and tweaking the questions to yield the best data. Now that we’ve got the survey in good shape, we plan to expand.
Will you join the Social Sports Poll?
In 2012, Coyle Media will be opening up the Social Sports Poll to all comers. Any sports properties with sufficient numbers of social media followers is invited to join the poll. As the number of participating properties increases, not only will we collect more data, but we’ll be able to make better assessments of the data and draw more accurate insights for all Poll participants. We believe that sports properties (and the sports industry) will benefit from working on this collective (i.e. crowdsourced) research initiative.
The Social Sports Poll will provide track important digital media trends in a sports context (e.g. the percentage of smartphones, use of check-in, content sharing, social commerce and mobile Commerce), and it will help sports properties to strengthen content and engagement strategies in Facebook, Twitter, mobile E mail and Web channels.
Drop me a line
If you’re interested in learning more about the Social Sports Poll, or in getting your property involved, please drop me a line via my contact form. I will make sure you get more details, and send you our schedule of survey dates for 2012.
Remember, despite their widespread adoption among avid sports fans, smartphones are just beginning to make their mark on sports marketing. Sports industry pioneers doing amazing things, but the rest of the industry is just waking up to the possibilities. Time to make the donuts!!