Published On: Sat, Mar 26th, 2011

Social and Mobile in Ireland

This week my Edelman colleagues Eoin Dowling and Piaras Kelly launched an infographic video which appeared on the Edelman Digital blog and highlighted the explosion of social media usage amongst key audiences, as well as the Irish love of digital technology.

I found the data about social networks insightful (Facebook has grown by 500% since 2009 etc), which will definitely help with the planning of future digital campaigns. However, for me the key takeaways are around the untapped potential of mobile in Ireland.

Everywhere you go in the country it seems everyone has a mobile device – and with over 5 million handsets in operation, representing a huge 116% mobile penetration rate, this statement is no exaggeration. However, the way in which people use mobile devices is changing and the video alluded to this.

People in Ireland currently browse the web via PCs and laptops, but over the coming years we can expect to see this dominance disrupted by mobile technology. Whilst iPads may be out the grasp of many, smartphones are increasingly attainable and there is a growing number of people who want to stay connected. As we have seen in other markets, people not only want to communicate with friends via calls and texts, but stay connected with email, news and brands.

This surge in smartphones sales means that by Spring we expect there will be 1.1 million people with smart devices in their pockets, swelling the number of apps downloaded beyond its present 8 million mark.

This fantastic growth means that mobile poses a challenge we should not shy away from and with near field communication (NFC) chips, which allow debit and credit purchases via smartphones not too far off, it also presents a great opportunity for brands to engage with consumers on another growing platform. For many brands mobile is not yet on the radar and remains an untapped area, but if your company sells products through its website to the public, then an app or .mobi website may well, be a wise investment.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. In short, social is important amongst Irish customers. It’s the here and now. But mobile is getting here and is definitely part of the future. However, I’m not naive enough to suggest all brands should invest in mobile right now. You don’t want to get into this space if none of your stakeholders are. As always, it’s about timing, balance and integration.

Brands need to hit upon the right mix of maximising the now, but also keeping an eye out for what is round the corner. After all, its the profits made now which enable brands to look to and have a future.

If you would like a chat about the now or indeed the future, please feel free to drop me a line at contact[at]ben-cotton[dotcom] or check out the Edelman website.

About the Author

- Marketing Manager with a passion for inbound at HubSpot, Founder of Growth Hack Talks, Blogger at and Chief Quaffer at .

Displaying 2 Comments
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  1. Lauren Allen says:

    Great article Ben, very relevant to what i’m focusing on at the moment in work!

    • Ben says:

      Hi Lauren,

      Thanks for the comment – there’s a huge opportunity for brands to engage with fans on mobile devices and it’ll be interesting to see which Irish brands take the plunge first, especially in the current economic climate.

      Next time we’re out, we’ll have to have a chat about mobile in Ireland! As someone working for a mobile network, it would be great to get your views.



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