YouTube Accounts for 13 Percent of All Mobile Data Usage

YouTube Accounts for 13 Percent of All Mobile Data Usage

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The chances are very good that, like a growing number of people, you have a smart phone.  With the rise of the iPhone and Android, there has been an explosion in the adoption of Internet-ready mobile devices.  I knew we’d reached a bit of a tipping point when my parents’ emails starting closing with the line, “sent from my iPhone.”  So now that so many smart phones are out there in circulation, what’s everybody doing with them?

Watching videos, of course.  What?  Did you think they were using them for work?

To be fair, many people are using their mobile device for work.  But out of everything that people do with mobile devices–play games, run apps, send texts and emails, browse the web, etc.–there is one thing that seems to be the clear winner in terms of time spent, and that’s online video.

Allot Communications, “a leading provider of intelligent IP service optimization and revenue generation solutions for fixed and mobile service providers and high-end enterprise,” and has released some of the data they gather as part of their work with ISP’s and broadband companies, and it’s pretty eye-opening. Let’s take a look at the most important findings, which Allot put together using data from a mobile user base of over 190 million subscribers.

Mobile Video Application Usage:

Video overall is more than a third of mobile usage, making up 35%–web browsing is second, at 29%, followed by HTTP download (16%), P2P (15%), and VoIP & IM (3%).  So, that means the average person watches video one out of every three times they turn on their phone.  That’s… staggering.  Here’s the graph:

YouTube makes up 13% of global mobile data bandwidth.  Global.  Total data bandwidth.  And YouTube is 13% of that.   They’re 40% of all video streams, but 13% of everything.  Check it out:

Global mobile data bandwidth usage is up 68%–more people with more smart phones doing more with them, which shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us that are paying attention.

Mobile Video Application Growth:

Video streaming is the single fastest-growing application type for mobile users, jumping 92% from the last reporting period (it appears that Allot does these reports every half-year, with the report in question covering the period from January to June 2010) and the single largest in terms of use worldwide.  VoIP and IM grew by 84% and is now the second-fastest-growing mobile application after video–and Skype is the dominant player, accounting for 83% of this category.  Here’s the graph on growth rates:

Social Networking & Mobile:

Twitter is still surging in mobile usage, jumping 310%.  Yikes.

Facebook is also seeing staggering growth in mobile users, climbing 200%.

Conclusions: Mobile Video Is Huge

I hate to sound like a Captain Obvious candidate here, but the main conclusion is this:  video is still huge, and still growing, and it’s getting very near the point when you’ll be left behind if you’re not participating in online video.  Streaming videos is the single most common activity for mobile users–it’s number one!

Think about everything you’re doing to promote your business or your clients:  Twitter, Facebook, blogging, email marketing, etc.  Now think about how none of those things is the number one mobile activity for users, because video is.  That’s not to say those things are unimportant–not at all.  Even the Allot study itself shows massive growth in social media activity through mobile devices.  But there is no denying the draw of video for mobile users.  If you’re not using video to speak to your fans and customers, you’re missing out on a huge-and-growing chunk of the potential audience and giving your competitors the window they need to squeeze in and steal your thunder.


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