Mobile Brings Undiscovered Opportunity for Consumer Insights

By Doug Goodwin, vice president Informate Mobile Intelligence

Smartphone and tablet use in the U.S. is big, and there’s no denying it. In 2012 alone, we’ve seen smartphone ownership hit the 50 percent mark, and tablet ownership topped 19 percent in early spring. Any way you slice it, there are 157 million mobile users in the U.S., and that’s a lot of American consumers engaging the mobile environment in many different ways.

A Recognized, but Untapped, Opportunity
Of course most business and service providers have embraced mobile in some form or another; or, they at least recognize the significance. But do they know how to monetize this medium, and more importantly, how to quantify an investment in it?

Many market researchers have started moving “research to mobile.” Online surveys via mobile some provide value, but they don’t deliver quantitative results or insights about the user’s “mobile behavior.” So how about “research about mobile”?

Marketers should focus on measuring mobile as a medium and learning more about how consumers engage mobile, what activities they do on mobile, when they use it and sometimes where they use it. But the biggest opportunity for marketers and advertisers is understanding how to use mobile to reach their consumer.

Mobile surveys can offer this insight. Traditional panels can, too. In fact, most traditional research techniques can add value. But mobile is unique in the way that consumers engage their phones and tablets — it’s a much more personal relationship. In order to fully understand this unique relationship, we must first  understand how users are actually engaging their devices. This depth of understanding is made possible through on-device measurement. As a result, mobile devices can literally tell us how they are being used, providing marketers an entirely new level of insight into consumer habits.

On-Device Measurement Brings New Insights
On-device measurement is exactly what it sounds like — an application that resides on a phone, tablet or PC and passively captures all activity from the device. Combine this stream of intelligence with basic user demographics, and a new level of mobile discovery opens up.

For instance, did you know that women in the U.S. spend 9 percent more of their mobile time on communication then men? In the U.K., the gap is 8 percent, and in India it’s as high as 30 percent. When people behave differently, they need to be evaluated uniquely. Understanding the differences in consumers’ mobile behavior will determine how you approach your target segments.

America is mobile. Mobile has changed everything from the way we communicate and entertain to socialize, shop and, more importantly, purchase. Consumer demand will continue to drive change in mobile.

The Challenge Is the Opportunity
To keep pace and to find success, measuring mobile consumer behavior is critical. Fortunately, mobile is built for measurement — more so than any other medium. Every function that occurs on a mobile device defines its owner. Capturing these details to inform a richer picture is driving the on device measurement trend.

Informate Mobile Intelligence specializes in mobile consumer intelligence — its products and services measure consumer mobile behavior. To learn more about writing guest articles for Media is Power, send an email to Editorial AT mediaispower DOT com.

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Dave Werner
Dave Werner