Yahoo’s Flurry: Phablets Represent a New and Growing Market


The fates of social media and mobile devices are inextricably intertwined. Internet access through mobile devices is up 39 percent year over year; indeed, as social grows, mobile grows and vice versa. A report from Yahoo owned analytics and monetization firm Flurry, indicates that the growth in mobile has been due in part to the increased use of phablets, as well as phones and tablets.

Flurry defines devices with a simple chart where small phones are 3.5 inches and under, like a Blackberry, and full sized tablet like the iPad are 8.5 inches or larger. A phablet is defined as a device with a screen size between five and 6.9 inches — like the Galaxy Note. Flurry analyzed the 1.6 billion devices to explore usage by screen size. The analysis was focused on the top 875 devices, which accounted for 87 percent of sessions in March 2015.

Compared to the two previous years, phablets have made large gains in active user market share. From just three percent in February 2013, to six percent in January 2014, to 20 percent in March 2015. During the same period small phones lost five percent of user share, medium phones lost 13 percent, small tablets gained two percent, and tablets hovered around 13 percent.

According to the report:

It seems consumers worldwide are smitten with the combination of a large screen size and good old fashioned cellular telephony. Six months after the iPhone 6 Plus launch, phablets are now the second most used form factor, after medium phones (such as the iPhone 6).

When breaking down operating system data, there are clear differences. 36 percent of active Android users are using phablets, while only four percent of iOS users have adopted them. This disparity is because iOS only offers one phablet. 17 percent fewer Android users are using full sized tablets than iOS users, which is explained by the increasing popularity of phablets, and the popularity of the iPad.

Among Android devices, phablets now account for 27 percent of the market, up from 10 percent in 2013. Large Android tablet devices have decreased in market share by five percent during the same period.

It’s important that marketers and social media UI designers take these trends into account when creating content. Phablets will provide larger screens and thus more precise control over the on screen environment; however, these devices are still phones and will often be operating on wireless networks. Flurry sees no end in sight for the growth in the phablet market, and marketers would be wise to take heed.

Image courtesy of 1000 Words /

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Why Yahoo’s abandonment of core Tumblr users is actually almost commendable


tumblr-becoming-youtubeWhen Yahoo bought Tumblr in May 2013 for $ 1.1 billion, Marissa Mayer made a big of how she wasn’t going to “screw it up.”

“Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business,” a Yahoo memo stated. “David Karp will remain CEO. The product, service and brand will continue to be defined and developed separately with the same Tumblr irreverence, wit, and commitment to empower creators.”

But while Mayer vowed not to “screw it up,” it’s become increasingly clear that the people she’s not screwing it up for are shareholders, not longtime Tumblr users.

Witness the report last month that Mayer wants to turn Tumblr into a YouTube competitor, poaching top talent from the Google-owned video network. It makes sense for Yahoo’s bottom line: Video advertising is far more lucrative than advertising against celebrity bread puns and academic critiques of dick pics. As I wrote at the time of the announcement, there are many reasons it won’t work — but at least it’s a legitimately smart and bold move, and there haven’t been too many of those during Mayer’s tenure.

Nevertheless, a platform for existing video superstars is not exactly in the spirit of Tumblr’s gonzo community of lost toys. But couldn’t Yahoo conceivably chase its YouTubian ambitions without ruining Tumblr for its original users?

Apparently not. Over 50,000 Tumblr users have signed a petition asking the company to reverse course on a change it made to image size requirements. Tumblr likely made the size changes, which involve wider images, because they would make video content (and video ad content) more attractive. But as a result, many older images are now stretched or otherwise distorted. Commenters say the impact has been especially great on animated GIFs, one of the most popular formats on Tumblr.

Of course, Yahoo is unlikely to heed these requests — The truth is, these angry users are far less easy to monetize than star video-makers or even amateur video-makers. In fact, one Tumblr user says the company wants its core users to abandon the service, in a post that’s garnered 23,816 notes in 2 days:

Hey everyone this is is a PSA that Tumblr staff and Yahoo WANT to discourage your use of Tumblr. They want to discourage those users who want proper photo formatting because they want to promote those who upload videos. They are weeding out users who don’t care for the website’s video function. This is a step in their plan to make Tumblr a video-based website to compete against Youtube.

Boycotting/ceasing use of the website will be doing exactly what they want.

Do not stop using Tumblr. Make photo/image content like crazy. Stop uploading/watching videos. Sign this petition. Keep emailing the staff.

Of course, more photo-sharing likely won’t help either. That’s because, according to Fortune, video posts are already growing twice as fast as photo posts on Tumblr.

To be honest, part of me has to commend Yahoo for working to evolve Tumblr. Just look at another one of Yahoo’s acquisitions of a big, beloved network: Flickr. The company failed to allocate the resources Flickr needed, and the service stagnated, missing out on all the mobile and social innovation apps like Instagram would bring to photo-sharing. At least this time around, Yahoo is shooting for the moon. And unfortunately for Tumblr’s longtime fanbase, it may not make it without jettisoning off some extra weight.

[illustration by Brad Jonas]