Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

AP-AOL Instant Messaging Trends Survey

Last week AOL shared the results of their second annual AP-AOL Instant Messaging Trends Survey.  The key finding they called out in the press release is that mobile IM is on the rise, with 25% of respondents sending IMs from their cell phones (and 32% of teens doing so).  

As usage of AIM over a cell phone is usually associated with a separate revenue stream, it makes sense that AOL would call this out.  What I found interesting were the findings around the usage of IM at work, and overall trends in IM usage by teens vs. adults.

More than one in four (27 percent) users say they use instant messaging at work. Further, half of at-work IM users say that instant messaging makes them more productive at work, a 25 percent increase over last year.  Nearly four in five (79 percent) at-work IM users say they have used instant messaging in the office to take care of personal matters.

In the past, AOL has broken out the % of employed respondents who use IM at work; it's not clear from the press release whether that 27% is of their entire respondent base (including teens), and in the past the % of employed respondents using IM was up in the 40-50% range. It's also interesting to see just how many people who are using IM at work are doing so to take care of personal matters.  It would be interesting to see a follow up question on how they would have taken care of those personal matters had they not had IM.  Would this have been a phone call instead (possibly taking more time or allowing for less multitasking) instead of an IM conversation?  Would it have required that someone step away from their desk for a private cell phone call back home to the kids vs. being able to discuss something more discretely over IM?

The other thing I found interesting - but not at all surprising - is the generational gap about to hit the workforce:

Nearly three in four teens (70 percent) and one in four adults (24 percent) send more instant messages than emails. One in five (19 percent) IM users say they send more instant messages than emails to their co-workers and colleagues.

Companies that aren't on board with an enterprise IM solution already - or that don't have a strategy for one - are going to find that they've got a whole lot of workers using public IM solutions to discuss information that really should stay inside the corporate firewall.

Link:   AP-AOL Instant Messaging Trends Survey Reveals Popularity Of Mobile Instant Messaging