Tracking Mobile's Undeniable Impact on Consumers' Lives

Customer Experience
Customer Experience
By understanding how consumers interact with their mobile devices, brands can determine what users truly want from their online experience and develop a content strategy that encourages increased engagement.

Whether you're waiting for the morning train or wandering through the mall, you will likely find the average individual with mobile device in hand. From smartphones to tablets, consumers have essentially developed an addiction to such technologies, keeping them close and checking them frequently under the guise of "staying connected" with friends, family, and colleagues. Yet, no matter the activity, usage data offers brands valuable insight into the customer's habits and preferences, allowing them to craft a more targeted engagement strategy.

ExactTarget's "2014 Mobile Behavior Report" combines the mobile device tracking and consumer survey data of 470 volunteers to examine what users actually click on, download, peruse, and avoid on the mobile Web. Each participant was tracked for one month to determine how they used their smartphones and tablets to access the mobile Web and mobile apps. Consumers were also asked questions about how they use and view mobile devices in their lives in an effort to help marketers create better experiences for all.

The following statistics aim to uncover user perceptions and preferences, explore brand relationships, and assess mobile's impact on consumers' lives:

  • Fifty-four percent of consumers associate "mobile" with their smartphones or cell phones, while only 14 percent linked the term with tablets or e-readers.
  • While 85 percent of those polled say mobile devices are a central part of their everyday lives, 89 percent praise such technologies for allowing them to remain up-to-date with loved ones and social events.
  • Seventy-three percent of smartphone users also own a tablet. Of those tablet owners, 65 percent use the device while watching TV at least once per day, while 41 percent use their tablets and smartphones simultaneously at least once per day.
  • Email (91 percent) and text messaging (90 percent) are the most popular activities to perform on smartphones at least once each day, while online search (70 percent) and email (69 percent) are the most popular activities among tablet users. However, tablet owners are more likely to engage in passive activities than smartphone owners, such as watching videos or movies (40 percent tablet vs. 30 percent smartphone), and reading (57 percent tablet vs. 43 percent smartphone).
  • Though 76 percent of smartphone users agree that location sharing provides more meaningful content, 63 percent of those who opted out did so because they simply didn't like the invasive nature of sharing their location.
  • While 95 percent of those who opt into a given brand's email messaging find such communications somewhat or very useful, more than 80 percent of those who signed up within the last six months made a purchase based on what they received. However, forty-three percent find such messaging disruptive.
  • Of the 54 percent that have opted in to receive text messages from a brand, 91 percent view such interactions as somewhat or very useful. Of those who haven't opted in, 52 percent say texts are disruptive, while 41 percent said the content wasn't meaningful or relevant.

Key takeaway: Mobile has become an undeniable force behind the way consumers interact with both loved ones and brands. Considering the average individual spends 3.3 hours per day on their smartphones, it's essential that companies also assume their rightful place within the medium. But, to truly succeed, brands must recognize that content stands at the center of the ideal mobile experience. Of those surveyed, 59 percent say that access to content how they want it is very important, with 83 percent seeking a seamless experience across all devices. Yet, while consumers have made their needs clear, companies perpetually fail to deliver effective mobile experiences. Overall, 54 percent of respondents say mobile-optimized websites don't offer enough information, yet 54 percent also say it's easier to find information on mobile websites, highlighting that, while mobile websites are more user-friendly, most are currently insufficient in relevant content and ease of navigation. With this in mind, brands must work to assess their own customers' behaviors and begin improving their current mobile presence in order to take advantage of the opportunities presented by such insights and cultivate an increasingly reliable, engaging experience that reels consumers in instead of pushing them away.