While industry analysts have been proclaiming the “year of the mobile” for the last two years, recent statistics indicate that 2014 might indeed be the year of mobile devices. A report released in mid-March by research firm Millward Brown took a quantitative and qualitative look at the way users interact with various screens—smartphones, laptops, tablets, and television screens. The report was based on a global survey of 12,000 respondents between the ages of 16 and 44 from 30 countries.
Smartphone versus Television Screens in America
There were 444 respondents from the United States, and research was supplemented by behavioral monitoring and interviews. The results indicate that for the first time, daily smartphone screen time has surpassed television screen time not just in the United States, but in many other countries. When researchers combined smartphone and tablet screen time, the total screen time exceeded television screen time by nearly an hour each day.
As the following infographic from the Millward Brown report indicates, Americans now spend an average of 151 minutes each day on smartphones, and an average of 147 minutes each day watching television:
In addition, the study revealed that 41% of the television audience used smartphones or tablets while watching television. 70% of multi-screen users were looking for “unrelated content” (a practice referred to as “stacking” in the study). The other 30% were browsing their devices for related content or were undertaking some action tied to the program or advertising they were viewing on television (a practice referred to as “meshing” in the report).
In the United States, the majority of users (43%) said they stacked to pass the time during ad breaks, while 38% said they stacked to keep up with their friends on social media. 21%, meanwhile, said they used their smartphones intermittently because the television programs weren’t interesting enough to sustain their full attention.
As for meshing, the majority of American respondents (21%) stated they browsed their smartphones to find out more about the content they were viewing on television. 14%, meanwhile, said they meshed in order to discuss what they were watching with other people, usually via social media.
Smartphone versus Television Screens in other Countries
Other nations were even more obsessed with their smartphones. Smartphone users in China spent an average of 170 minutes each day on their smartphones, which was nearly double their television-viewing time. Stacking and meshing were also found to be more pronounced in China.
Users in emerging nations like Brazil, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia also clocked in more screen minutes on average than their American counterparts.
Online Marketers should Create Optimized Mobile Marketing Strategies in 2014
To target mobile users, brands should invest in mobile responsive websites. These are websites that seamlessly adjust their content to suit a variety of screen sizes. Jay Henderson, Strategy Program Director at IBM, recommends the “Mobile First” strategy, which is to build mobile websites from the ground up, as opposed to force-fitting a current website to fit the smaller screen sizes of smartphones and tablets.
Online marketers should also combine their mobile marketing strategies with social media. Since many smartphone users check social media to read reviews about brands before making purchases, marketers should include customer reviews and social media sharing buttons in their mobile marketing programs to reap the benefits.
Additionally, online marketers should pay attention to various apps and programs that enable consumers to access coupons, tickets, as well as gift and loyalty cards via their mobile devices. Considering the significant amount of time mobile users spend on their devices, online marketers and brands would be wise to tailor their marketing strategies to suit this audience. By investing in mobile marketing strategies, brands can outpace their competitors.
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