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smartphone marketingSmartphones have been getting lots of attention lately what with Google's introduction of the Nexus One and all the ballyhooing going on over at CES this week. The world is seemingly poised for yet another "year of mobile" (I'm losing count, but it seems as if that scorecard is well into its second decade). So what are the opportunities? Where are the changes?

A new Questus study sponsored by AOL and Universal McCann takes the temperature of 1,800 smartphone users - because if any audience is not only receptive to, but equipped for mobile marketing messaging, it's very obviously these technology early adopters.

The findings? Heartening, but hardly earthshaking. Herewidth, some of the findings:

  • 1 of every 7 minutes of media consumption is via a mobile device.
  • 80 percent of mobile users are satisfied with their ability to access the internet on their mobile device.
  • Smartphones are used everywhere: 95% - "downtime"; 82% - at work; 81% - shopping; 80% - at home; 65% - commuting to work.

But what are users doing on their smartphones? Mostly, and unsurprisingly, it's quick-hit stuff: looking up maps and directions, social media, and getting news updates. Fifty-five percent say they seeking local listings (e.g. movies and restaurants), which appears to remain the low-hanging fruit of marketing opportunity to these users. But national franchises excepted, we're unlikely to see a rush to mobile advertising from local mom 'n' pop businesses - the ones that barely manage to maintain an online presence at all.

Word-of-mouth marketing has much more potential. Seventy-four percent of users say they use social networking apps to share photos, news, videos and recomendations. Overall, most prefer emailing or texting to calling. And there's plenty of what the study calls "media meshing," or simultaneous use of mobile with other media, and a push-pull effect that drives users to mobile, the web, other media, and back again.

The younger you are the heavier your mobile usage. Particularly if you own an iPhone. The young and iPhone equipped spend roughly twice as much time on mcommerce, mobile social networking and concurrant mobile/tv usage than do older demos and/or the iPhone-less.

The survey, which is very obviously biased toward selling mobile advertising solutions, stakes a claim for mobile engagement: that mobile users are less likely to be distracted from the mobile channel than using most other media. Twenty-seven percent of mobile users report themselves "completely focused" versus 13, 17 and 19 percent respectively for TV, radio and reading the paper. But personal computers, interestingly, account for still more engagement with a 33% "completely focused" rate.

And over a third of respondants say they've taken action after seeing a mobile ad, be it seeking more information, opting-in to email or coupons, buying. But while 44 percent are buying things for their mobile in the mobile channel (think apps, ringtones), only 24 percent have conducted other types of mcommerce.

Couponing could help change this behavior. Seventy-four percent of smartphone users are very receptive to the idea of mobile coupons, as well as to mobile becoming an even deeper part of their lives. Mobile users expect their use of digital channels to increase over the next two years, while anticipating a drop in their use of traditional media channels.

Rebecca Lieb

Published 8 January, 2010 by Rebecca Lieb

Rebecca Lieb oversees Econsultancy's North American operations.

Follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

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Rachel

Great article. Might want to fix the "teh" though. :)

over 6 years ago

Christian Louca

Christian Louca, Founder - New Mobile Start-Up at Stealth Mode

It would have been nice to see a higher volume sampling pool and to have a breakdown of the demographics, as it is difficult to put this into context.  Nonetheless, some interesting research.

over 6 years ago

Christian Louca

Christian Louca, Founder - New Mobile Start-Up at Stealth Mode

^ to clarify, a better breakdown of the demographics.  Female and Male users can differ to some degree and would have been useful to have this against each research point. 

over 6 years ago

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Siobhan McMullan

Great article - would love to see more detail into the "young and iphone equipped". But very valid point re: is this really going to be a year of mobile. I'm not sure we are quite there yet in the UK...seems like we could be talking several years before "the year mcommerce really takes hold".

over 6 years ago

Christian Louca

Christian Louca, Founder - New Mobile Start-Up at Stealth Mode

There will never be a year of mobile.  Mobile will evolve over time like all traditional media did.   

over 6 years ago

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Rinnell Garrett

Mobiles are not there yet to be used as a marketing tool. BTW I don't like using net on my cell phone.

over 6 years ago

Christian Louca

Christian Louca, Founder - New Mobile Start-Up at Stealth Mode

@ Rinnell - I would argue that mobiles have been used as a marketing channel for years.  I have worked with many global brands (Coca-Cola, Mercedes, GM, Nike, Disney, Vodafone, O2 Telefonica, EA, Sony to name just a few) for over 5 years doing exactly that.   

over 6 years ago

Andrew Lloyd Gordon

Andrew Lloyd Gordon, Digital Marketing Expert, Speaker and Trainer at New Terrain Limited

These research reports are great. Really useful. But they often tell us more of the 'what' rather than the 'why'.

I think what's missing with some of these studies is more of the psychological and cultural differences between nations with high numbers of smartphones.

The Japanese and other Asian countries are, apparently, 3 - 5 years ahead of the UK/USA when it comes to mcommerce and the mobile web generally.

Perhaps it's because they've had the tech and infrastructure before we have (says he looking jealously at Korean broadband speeds). But I wonder if there are other, more deeper reasons why they're ahead in mcommerce and web mobile adoption?

Because I often think that commentators in those countries must look upon these type of reports claiming that 'mobile marketing is here' and think, 'duh?!'

over 6 years ago

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Steve

I think this article discussion is good.  I wonder what current 'online material' Mobile's will be used for in the future.  Will people want to read an article this size on a screen the size of an i Phone, or .... will phones be projecting holographic images in the air at a comfortable text size??? just kidding

I would welcome the opportunity to advertise on mobile's, but only if I could get a much higher decree of user profiling before.

over 6 years ago

Christian Louca

Christian Louca, Founder - New Mobile Start-Up at Stealth Mode

@ Steve, I work with many media companies and  social networking brands in mobile and in fact the company I work for has the largest premium open network in Europe serving over 500 million impressions per month and we have detailed demographics, such as age, male or female, likes or dislikes.  We know what phone they use, what network they are on, even location and what their income is and much more.  This of course will vary from site to site but profile data is definitely available for anyone who wants to advertise on mobile.

over 6 years ago

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supra shoes

I work with many media companies and  social networking brands in mobile and in fact the company I work for has the largest premium open network in Europe serving over 500 million impressions per month and we have detailed demographics, such as age, male or female, likes or dislikes.  We know what phone they use, what network they are on, even location and what their income is and much more.  

about 6 years ago

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