Image traffic growth outpaces video in smartphone heavy markets

Image traffic growth outpaces video in smartphone heavy markets

Image traffic is growing faster than video traffic in markets with high levels of smartphone penetration, according to data released today.

While video traffic has widely been touted as a driver behind rising demand for data, image traffic has been given less prominence meaning the report from mobile internet solutions company Flash Networks may take some telcos by surprise.

Flash found that image traffic in the Americas and Europe grew 33% over the last six months compared with 5% growth for video traffic.

In regions like Asia, where smartphone penetration is lower, video traffic was found to still be growing faster than image traffic. The report also found that approximately 85% of overall traffic in saturated markets was running on smartphones.

The rise in image traffic was attributed to mobile social networks like Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

Flash found that an Instagram version upgrade in September alone increased image traffic by 20% for operators in the Americas and Europe.

"With all the recent noise around video traffic, operators need to ensure they are also prepared for the huge increase in images on mobile networks," said Merav Bahat, VP of marketing and business development at Flash Networks.

"Fortunately optimisation techniques can result in a significant data reduction without sacrificing image quality, enabling operators to cope with this latest burst in mobile data."

Flash collected the data for its report from several Tier 1 operator networks located in Europe, Asia and the Americas, serving a total of over 200 million subscribers.

Other reports have come up with supporting findings, according to the company. comScore discovered a nearly 8.5 times increase in Instagram mobile users in less than six months, while Diffbot reported that 36% of all links shared on Twitter are images and 42% of all Tumblr posts are photos.