Mobile – not as mobile as we think?

Mobile – not as mobile as we think?

EXCLUSIVE: Conventional mobile marketing wisdom is “flawed” and the assumption that mobile phones are mostly used on the go is holding back ad spend, a study found.

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

Mobile marketing has largely been built on the understanding that smartphone usage is utility based, used on the go to compare prices, check the weather, find restaurants and more.

But a new BBDO and AOL Advertising study, 'Seven Shades of Mobile' presented in Melbourne at CHE late last week, has found there is a “major disconnect” between this belief and actual mobile usage.

More than half (68%) of all mobile minutes actually occur in the home, according to the American study which also found 46% of all mobile minutes are allocated to ‘me time’ or relaxing.

The insight is significant as traditionally brands have built their mobile experience as a utility for someone who is on the go, said CHE’s head of interactive strategy Tony Chilvers.

“It’s the assumption that you are in the store, you are going to log in and do things within that store,” Chilvers told B&T.

“What the research has shown is that is not 100% accurate, that doesn’t mean that it is not happening, but that is where mobile spend is happening and it’s not getting the results.

“That is why mobile ad spend is not increasing.”

The study, which surveyed and tracked mobile phone usage of more than 1050 consumers between 13 and 54 years of age over 30 days, also broke down mobile usage into seven key segments or shades.

The shades are: accomplish, socialise, me time, discover, shop, prepare and self-express.

The dominant shade was ‘me time’, with 60% of smartphone users using their devices for relaxation once a day on average, accounting for 420 mobile minutes per month.

Me time represents 46% of all time-spent on mobile, with 70% of that time ‘lean-back’ moments where they are actively entertaining themselves on their device. The remaining 30% are ‘lean-forward’ moments when they may be watching TV and engaging with content on their phones at the same time.

“What can we as marketers do about me time is the question that comes out of this. If 74% of me time is at home, when it comes to accessing mobile websites and consumption what are we doing to participate in that time and be relevant and present,” Chilvers asked the audience.

“Are we scoring, being relevant?

“The answer unfortunately is  no. We have have a major disconnect with me time. Brands need to start tapping into motivations of what drives me-time.

“The reason for this is because ads were irrelevant, they were easy to ignore and very often disrupted and got in the users way.”

‘Me time’ motivators include relaxing, passing the time, entertain or amuse, indulge and engage my mind.

Successful mobile marketing comes down to having the right content, according to Chilvers, and re-thinking the ways consumers may view your app. For example, Amazon’s app was built for shopping but consumers are also using it in ‘me time’ to browse the latest gadgets rather than in the ‘shop’ shade.

“It’s not about making sure you have a retail ad in that space it is about asking how are you engaging that person now….are you being relevant to them in that moment.”

Chilvers believes “a lot of mobile marketing is guesses” and believes brands need to invest more in research.

“With a little bit more research you can actually get to a point of no waste acquisition…understand how you are going into this place, how relevant is it and then offer that advertising experience or communication experience to them.”