SANTA CLARA: More and more smartphone owners are using their devices to watch videos, with online video sites and apps accounting for the majority of traffic on many mobile networks.

A new report from Bytemobile, a research firm, shows that video content accounts for 50% of overall global mobile traffic. Among certain networks measured by the researchers, this proportion rises to almost 70%.

Bytemobile also tracked a general increase in video traffic over the past year. Video accounted for 40% of the total when the same survey was taken in 2011.

The year-on-year jump reflects the fact that consuming this kind of content is far more bandwidth-intensive than other activities such as social networking.

YouTube was found to account for roughly 350 times as much traffic as Facebook, despite actual usage levels being similar for the two platforms.

Per session, the average smartphone owner spends 9.06 minutes on Facebook and 4.57 minutes on Twitter. YouTube accounted for 8.51 minutes.

Chris Koopmans, chief operating officer for Bytemobile, suggested that technological improvements were the major driver behind the trend. "As devices continue to get smarter - with faster processors, more memory and bigger, sharper screens – content consumption, particularly video, continues to grow aggressively," he said.

Increasing consumer takeup of tablet PCs was also found to have driven video traffic. Bytemobile suggested that the typical user of the iPad, Apple's market-leading tablet, accounts for three times the traffic of the average iPhone user.

Elsewhere in the report, Google was found to be the firm most effectively monetising the mobile web in terms of ads, taking a 75% share of total ad-generated traffic.

Bytemobile also pointed out that devices powered by Google's Android operating system produce more ad transactions than iPhones.

Data sourced from Bytemobile; additional content by Warc staff