The smartphones and mobile devices today are far more powerful than the computing power of the room-size machines that first linked to create the Internet as we know it. Smartphones have fast become staples of our modern culture and have revolutionized the way we communicate, entertain ourselves and access information. For most urban millennials, our mobile devices are one of the first things we reach for in the morning and one of the last things we interact with before bed every night. A quick look around public spaces, and it seems everyone is glued to the screens that travel with us on public transportation, to events and even accompany us to the bathroom. Chances are 51.3% that you are reading this very article on your mobile device. So, with so much of our time being spent online from our mobile devices, the question remains, where does the time go?
The idea of being able to instantly access all of humanities stored history and knowledge was the stuff of sci-fi dreams just a generation ago. Mass databases of knowledge are no longer just on starships and futuristic sets of sci-fi thrillers but are now in each of our pockets. The fact is, we turn to our mobile devices for the answers to everything. From the start time of movies to the current exchange rate of Bitcoin, we simply enter our information requested and, within a fraction of a second, we are bombarded with pages of relevant data.
Google, the biggest of these huge “organizers” of humanities knowledge, has even become the term used to describe the action of searching for information itself. “Let me Google it” or “Google it” have become synonymous with the act of looking up information online. Every minute, 436,477 mobile searches are made through Google’s search engine. Another 87,295 voice searches are made via Google at the same time, constituting well over half a million unique searches every minute.
Though Google is the clear market leader in mobile searches and traffic, a few of its competitors have significant traffic of their own. Yahoo for example, is used at an average of 129,483 times per minute for mobile enquiries, and Bing users add an additional 350,115 unique searches per minute. With just these three players receiving over 1 million total searches per minute, it should be no surprise, then, that Google and other search engines have become one of the primary large traffic volume areas of the mobile traffic realm.
With the invention of mobile messenger services, customers no longer need to spend a lot of money on expensive phone calls or text messages. Instant messaging services, like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, have changed the way we socialize and stay in touch with loved ones. These services have made doing business easier than ever, as communication is instant, can be translated instantly and allows for collaboration and sales to anyone on a global scale.
In terms of mobile usage, messenger on mobile constitutes huge volumes of mobile traffic. To get a basic understanding of just how much traffic is produced, the industry leader, WhatsApp, is used to send approximately 30 million messages every minute or over 42 billion messages every day. WhatsApp also facilitates voice calls in the range of 100 million per day, and video calls of approximately 55 million per day. These numbers are simply phenomenal and far outreach traditional phone companies’ usage stats from the years and decades prior to widespread messenger adoption.
The second biggest messenger service belongs to Facebook. Launched as a sub-platform to the social media network, messenger allows Facebook users to chat and communicate with friends through Internet, similarly to WhatsApp. Facebook messenger has an active usership of over 28,000 active users per minute. These users send, on average, 46,681 messages and make nearly 10,000 voice or video calls every 60 seconds.
Other messenger services, though nowhere nearly as widely adopted, have also risen to have active usership and large mobile traffic volumes of their own. Viber, Line and WeChat are a few newer players in the messenger game that have been growing of late. These services seem to be penetrating emerging markets in China, India and Africa at a solid pace, contributing to the exponential rise in mobile traffic from these developing economies.
With registered users growing at a pace of nearly 600 per minute on WhatsApp, it is clear that this particular form of mobile usage is still rising and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. These services have also given rise to new Internet-only service packages for mobile. These new Internet packages use these messenger services as the primary method to make and receive all calls. Some customers are opting to forgo the conventional telephone number systems altogether as we move towards a less wired future.
Social media is another huge consumer of online time and traffic. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, all have large user bases that spend a lot of their mobile time socializing and viewing content on these platforms. When it comes to social media no company is as global as Facebook.
Facebook has over two billion active monthly users and more than 1.7 billion are on mobiles. Facebook’s army of mobile users account for, every minute, over 1 million likes, 20,000 comments and over 50,000 shares, on average. The social media giant is also growing, with nearly three new accounts created every second from mobile devices.
Instagram, a Facebook subsidiary, is another platform drawing huge mobile traffic. Every day, over 10 million people actively use Instagram adding over 400 million stories and 250 million pictures. As Instagram is a mobile-specific platform, its users are 99% mobile and are highly active from their devices.
YouTube from mobile is another huge sector of online traffic. Every day, YouTube receives over 10 million mobile hits and over 1.4 billion video views. Users also have an average watch time higher than Facebook and Instagram.
Finally, rounding out the social media mobile traffic heavyweights, is SnapChat. SnapChat’s 300 million mobile users send an average of 3 billion “snaps” every 24 hours. SnapChat users also share 750 million pictures everyday. All that time pails in comparison to the 10 billion video views from mobile users, each and every day.
Form follows function, and mobile users are adopting new technologies all the time. These innovative platforms include ride sharing, food delivery and even housing solutions like AirBnB. These technologies have huge userships and make life easier for the mobile masses worldwide. Domino’s Pizza and Pizza Hut have mobile platforms that make ordering dinner as easy as a few swipes on your mobile screen.
One of the biggest lifestyle apps to change the way we live is Uber. Uber, a ride sharing/taxi booking app, has groves of mobile users worldwide. In terms of daily traffic, Uber has over 1.3 million active riders daily hailing transportation from their mobiles. What are even more impressive are the 1.6 million drivers added to their network each day, showing tremendous growth!
Though Uber is likely the largest ride or transportation app in terms of revenue, its Asian counterpart, OLA, dwarfs Uber in usership and overall traffic. OLA, based in India, organizes 750 million rides daily and has much higher market penetration in the developing world. Other similar services, including Lyft and GrabTaxi, have also grown in recent years, but are much smaller. Regardless, as companies clamor to create more innovative apps that revolutionize the way mobile users live, the time spent on them will only increase over the next decade, at least.
Another area that mobile users are consuming large amounts of time on is entertainment. Specifically, mobile games have some of the largest traffic and revenues in the growing mobile industry. The number one game for mobile is CandyCrush. New players install CandyCrush over 60,000 times a day on average, and mobile users play over 600 million rounds of the game daily. The traffic and time spent is well rewarded, as the games owners generate over 2 million dollars each and every day.
Various other games also have huge player bases and generate huge traffic from mobile users. PokemonGo, Game of War, Clash Royale and Clash of Clans are the games rounding out the top five mobile games. All these games make over 200 million dollars in revenue a year, and some games even boast 2-hour average game play per active user daily.
As our mobile devices become even more core to our social structure, the traffic and time we spend on these devices will only grow. These sectors and companies will look to increase their share of the business that is: your attention. Where does all this traffic lead? The answer is simply the future, whether we are ready or not!
Author: Josh Wardini
Josh Wardini is Editorial Contributor and Community Manager at PlayMobi. With a preliminary background in communication and expertise in community development, Josh works day-to-day to reshape the human resource management of digitally based companies. When his focus trails outside of community engagement, Josh enjoys the indulgences of writing amidst the nature conservations of Portland, Oregon.