How do you communicate – insights from Passive Mobile Behaviour Research

By July 12, 2013 No Comments

Passive Mobile Research Insights

With all the different apps, features, games and widgets at our disposal on our smartphones it’s sometimes easy to forget the primary function which these devices were originally intended to fulfil; communication.

The way people communicate with their friends, family and even their favourite companies is an interesting field of analysis, and having so many methods available all through your smartphone means there is a communication solution to suit everyone’s needs.

RealityMine decided to investigate how communication patterns differed across the globe, utilising data from many of our different panels. We wanted to see if there was any established difference in preferred communication methods and what trends we could denote from the passive data we collect via the AnalyzeMe application.

We started by viewing the split per country of the built-in SMS/MMS apps versus the built in phone applications across all platforms. This graph shows the proportion of the number of app sessions for each country, so one launch of the messaging app is equivalent to one launch of the phone app.



Only Russia, China and Japan demonstrated a split on favour of the phone application. In addition, only India, Malaysia and South Korea show above the global average for use of the phone application.

Of course this is only a fraction of the overall picture given the range of communication methods available to users. As smartphones have become more secure, businesses have moved to make company email available to their employee’s personal phones. The rise of VoIP (e.g. Skype) and OTT Messaging ( e.g. whatsapp) has also opened up the communication market to the extent that in the UK, the mobile phone contract market is fought over data, rather than texts or minutes. Services like whatsapp have removed the limit to the number of texts people can send, and forced the market to adapt its pricing structures.

This graph shows the split in percentage duration of app use between Voice, SMS/MMS, OTT Messaging, Email and VoIP. This presents an overall view per country of their ‘communication footprint’.



As the bottom two communication categories (as plotted) are voice related, it is easy to see the dominance of text based communication here in all countries with the exception of Japan, where voice communication still holds a slight majority. Larger proportions of VoIP use in Russia and the UAE are the only two peaks in what is an otherwise marginal proportion of the over communication market. We can also begin to see a large variance between SMS/MMS and OTT Messaging from country to country which we can look into further.

The graph below highlights the SMS/MMS and OTT Messaging split for each country. You can see that SMS/MMS still held the overall majority of use in our panels, although 7 countries did show a higher proportion of use for the OTT Messaging apps. All-encompassing native messaging apps which support OTT and group chats have possibly stemmed the tide of the switch to OTT Messaging apps and the sheer range of OTT options has potentially prevented a monopoly for this technology on the messaging market.

While this tells us that there is a difference between the split in these two forms of communication, it is difficult to picture this spatially. Here we see a map view of the communication split. The map shows each country and the percentage of messaging which is SMS/MMS (versus OTT Messaging). The bluer the country, the higher the percentage of messaging which is SMS/MMS. Countries which are orange in colour use OTT Messaging more.



There is a clear pattern of SMS/MMS dominance in Europe, the US and Australia while OTT Messaging shows significantly more use in the middle and far east. This can start to show how there is a preference on communication methods which could be attributed to financial, cultural and social differences between countries.