Mobile internet boosts total media usage

MUMBAI: Mobile internet is not being used at the expense of any other media. In the latest study by the global media communications company Initiative, 76 per cent of consumers worldwide said that mobile internet was in addition to their other internet usage through a combination of occupying previously dead time as well as multitasking.

Of these, 52 per cent said that their other internet usage had remained the same whilst 24 per cent said that it had increased. The latter is driven to a large extent by mobile activities that require consumers to access and download information from their computer, such as creating Spotify playlists.

This trend is set to continue as consumers become more familiar with their smartphones, with nearly one third of the innovators (the most technically advanced consumers) increasing their use of internet via the computer.
Furthermore, a significant proportion of consumers are using mobile internet at the same time as consuming other media. Across global markets, Initiative saw the highest level of multi-tasking whilst watching TV, listening to the radio and travelling - all at 50 per cent. In addition, 39 per cent access mobile internet whilst using internet through a computer, and 34 per cent whilst reading newspaper and magazines. This is an evolving trend with innovators being between 20-50 per cent more likely to access mobile internet whilst consuming other media.

This provides marketers with a unique opportunity to use mobile to amplify their existing media activity. Through mobile, marketers can provide consumers with a way of immediately engaging with the brand, whether prompted by an advert, or a thought or conversation they‘ve just had. In today‘s society, with shorter and shorter attention spans, it is essential that consumers can engage with brands at the moment of impulse, and mobile provides that opportunity.

Mobile Consumers Are Always On
Mobile was originally a device used out of home to make telephone calls when away from the fixed telephone line. Initiative suggests that this medium now is truly both an out-of-home and in-home device with around 60 per cent of usage now happening within the home. Levels of usage are high across weekdays, weekends and evenings; and so mobile internet is fast becoming as the only medium where you can communicate with your target audience at all times of the day.

Tracking the usage occasions across weekdays and weekends has shown that 30 per cent of all smartphone users start their day with mobile internet, and 45 per cent end their day with it. In the US, these figures rise to 49 per cent and 53 per cent respectively. The only time that usage drops is, not surprisingly, when consumers are actively engaged in other activities, such as sports and music events. This clearly demonstrates how mobile internet has caused a significant shift in consumer need to have constant connection with the outside world.

The time most people access the internet via their mobile is whilst relaxing at home (64 per cent). At this time, the number one activity is social communication (27 per cent), followed closely by email (26 per cent). Relaxing out of the home is also prime mobile time (50 per cent).

Initiative observed high levels of activity during commuting times. This has always been a prized time to reach a captive audience. Mobile now delivers the immediate call to action.

Email is the single largest activity in the morning, when users have just woken up. This is true in all our markets but especially in the US where consumers are 63 per cent more likely to access email at this time.

The relative importance of task/utility activities (eg: discount calculators, calorie counters) whilst consumers are out and about doing chores demonstrates how the need state of consumers relates to mobile internet usage. Across all our markets, tasks/utilities is the top activity carried out by consumers when they are out and about (13 per cent), with South Korea leading the way with one fifth of people using this functionality. As consumers are increasingly seeking information at their moment of decision making, it is essential that advertisers are there with the relevant message to positively influence that decision.

Social communication, gaming, entertainment-media and searching/ browsing are used throughout the day in line with the overall usage patterns. This demonstrates that the vast majority of mobile internet usage is "in the moment" - mobile enables instantaneous action.

Although the trends across the markets are very similar, there are some cultural differences. The more developed markets use email and social communication significantly more than other activities when compared to the emerging markets. US consumers are 50 per cent more likely than any other country to access mobile internet whilst attending events. Gaming is more prevalent within the Asian countries whilst relaxing at home, coming in second to social communication.

So, although consumers are accessing mobile internet all day, every day, the primary mobile internet activities differ significantly from those where a computer is used to access the internet. The top mobile activities, such as social communication and entertainment, are entirely in line with key consumer needs: 78 per cent of people agree that ‘mobile internet provides instant information wherever I am‘, 75 per cent use it to pass the time, and 73 per cent say it is fun and enjoyable.

Need For Mobile Internet
Also, when looking at why consumers choose one channel over another, the number one reason is always convenience. However, mobile internet really comes into its own in terms of providing access to information where and when required (four times more important than computer-based internet), whereas computer-based internet is seen as having better functionality (double that of mobile internet).

The factors that marketers must deliver if they want to succeed in engaging with consumers through mobile internet are: communication services, location-relevant information delivered in an instant and entertaining content.

Computer-based internet is typically used for longer sessions involving wider research, bigger screens and faster download speeds. Also, there is a perception that security is greater than on mobile. Marketers need to take account of these different consumer needs when devising internet strategies, as one size will generally not fit all. In a world where consumers are using the internet more and more to take control of their lives, the use of mobile internet to research products and services is set to grow exponentially. Currently, 16 per cent of US consumers use their smartphone at least once a day to search for information (price comparison websites and products reviews/ specifications), but this rises to 31 per cent within the Innovators group. The fact that mobile internet is a learning process combined with the trend of increasing consumer control reveals that mobile internet will become increasingly important in consumer decision making.

Marketing Opportunity: There‘s An App For That
Applications are the catalyst for change in the way people view mobile handsets, moving the handset from being seen simply as a device for voice, text and email to one that is a platform for launching a never ending array of new functionality.

Over 80 per cent of smartphone users have downloaded at least one app, rising to nearly 100 per cent in China.

Accessing apps is linked to their availability on specific types of smartphone. The iPhone has led the way supported by strong marketing activity with ‘there‘s an app for that‘ and easy access via the ‘App Store‘. Fast on its tail are those phones operating with an android platform such as HTC Wildfire.

Smartphone users have, on average, downloaded 13 apps with 12 currently on their phone. Of these, eight are used regularly. The equivalent figures for the iPhone are 25, 22 and 13 respectively.

Therefore, apps are fast becoming commonplace in every smartphone owner‘s life. However, although consumers are investigating an increasingly wide range of apps, they will only use those that offer them a real benefit, whether that is functional, social or entertainment.

In terms of app usage, social communication is within the top two activities in all markets, except South Korea and India. This is followed by games, music/entertainment, news and weather. South Korea is focused on productivity apps, such as diary management, whereas in India the highest usage is of fun and entertainment apps.

The majority of apps downloaded on smartphones are free, with 70 per cent of consumers having more free than paid-for apps, and 25 per cent having never paid for an app. However, this is due to the large supply of free apps on the market and not a lack of willingness to pay. So, for example, 60 per cent of smartphone users in the US have spent more than $5 on an app, with 35 per cent spending over $15. Italians are the biggest spenders, with 65 per cent spending more than $6 and 44 per cent more than $18. The price value equation is as relevant for apps as it is for other purchases. 
Smartphone users were asked whether they would like to trade the price of an app in return for being exposed to advertising. The majority would prefer not to pay and receive their apps for free with advertising.

However, there are a significant proportion of people who claim they would pay any price to avoid advertising interrupting their experience.

For example, 38 per cent of UK smartphone users say they would prefer to spend $37 or more on an app than receive the same app for free with advertising. This clearly presents a strong message that marketers need to tread very carefully and understand the rules of engagement with consumers in this very personal medium.

Friends and family are the main source across our markets for finding out about apps, with around 50 per cent of smartphone users saying this was their key source, rising to 90 per cent in India. The second most popular sources are from a general internet search and going to an app store via their mobile handsets. Traditional advertising comes in at between seventh and tenth.

Most app stores now have an app search function as there are so many apps to choose from. As more and more apps come onto the market it will be harder for brands to break through the app clutter.

Apps will need to be marketed and signposted to be found. When a consumer has downloaded a branded app it means the marketer has successfully placed their brand icon in the hand of his consumers, building both loyalty and talkability.

Apps offer immense opportunities to build brand loyalty, drive call to action, and extend and reinforce existing marketing activity, through gaming, gimmicks, utilities, entertainment and social communication - all of which are actively used by our smartphone users.

Mobile Internet Will Become The Platform Of Choice
Initiative states that advertisers must recognise that mobile internet is here to stay, and will become ever more essential to consumers‘ lives as smartphone penetration increases and as consumers become more familiar with the roles mobile can play in their lives. Our research has shown that these new behaviours are here to stay - once learned, they become habitual - there is no going back. Given the choice between only having mobile internet and only having computer-based internet, one third of consumers currently opt for mobile internet, but this increases to half amongst Innovators. These are astonishing figures considering that mobile internet is relatively new, and really demonstrates how quickly mobile is becoming the technology of choice. These figures are even more apparent in the emerging markets of India and China. For example, in India, 49 per cent of consumers and 69 per cent of innovators would choose mobile internet, driven by the limited access to computerbased internet in that market.

Around the corner is the increased use of smartphones as a payment device with 32 per cent of US consumers already using ‘pay-by-mobile‘ technology, and around one-third of these prepared to spend between $50 and $100, showing that confidence is building. There is no doubt this is a growth area as the smartphone continues to evolve as a multifunctional device.

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