4 Interactions Consumers Have With Their Mobile Devices
We’ve been together for over a decade and are attached at the hip. At least once an hour, I find myself consulting it. Yes, I’m talking about my smartphone, and I’m guessing you feel similarly attached to yours. The relationships we form with our mobile devices are truly unique, shaped by our routines and by habit, by our environments and our personalities. (And, if we’re being honest, our devices often shape us back.)
We’re now spending hours a day — an average of 3 to 5, depending which studies you find most credible — communing with these small screens, and the most important question for marketers is not how we can serve up more digital ads. Who wants to be the annoyance that gets in the middle of a lovefest? No, our question should be: how can we become an organic part of the relationships that already exist between consumers and their phones?
If you think about the most common interactions we have with our phones, some don’t even lend themselves to traditional ads anyway. Here are the types of interactions we’re looking at these days and ways we help our clients join the conversation, rather than distract from it.
Interaction No. 1: Consuming
Smartphones have increasingly become a tool for consuming content. Marketers have been focused on content marketing for a few years now, and most of us are pretty comfortable at this point with the idea that the smart way to reach consumers is to be the content, rather than be the ad next to the content. But let’s examine what kind of content people consume on their phones. These days, they're not just reading — they’re watching, and they’re listening.
Video is king right now. If you said to me, “Sarah, my resources are limited and I have to choose between maintaining a blog and creating a video series,” I would probably tell you to go for video, assuming you’re decent on camera. (Here are my tips for creating video that performs on mobile devices.)
Another medium to look at: podcasts. Podcasts have officially gone mainstream. A few years back, the audience for most podcasts was more tech-savvy than the average consumer and made up primarily of Millennials. Now, everyone from my C-suite LinkedIn connections to my grandma seems to be recommending their favorite audio content. There is a podcast for every niche industry out there, and business podcasts dominate the top charts. Decision-makers are using this easily accessible audio format to listen and learn, and smart brands are getting in on the voice action by making guest appearances on podcasts — and by creating their own.
Interaction No. 2: Browsing
Yes, people shop on their mobile devices, but the bigger story is that our shopping is multichannel and often involves several mobile touchpoints. How many times have you pulled up a product more than once on your phone before finally buying it in a retail store? Because we’ve got the ability to purchase at the touch of a button anytime, we’ve got less pressure to decide right away and the luxury of more research time.
How can marketers get in on this leisurely browsing? The answer comes back to content — the more helpful content you can provide to assist consumers at various points in their buyers’ journeys, the better. Being actually helpful is key; this isn’t about the hard sell, but rather about providing potential consumers with valuable information that will help them in their purchasing decisions. Can this content be in the form of video or voice content? You betcha.
Interaction No. 3: Socializing
For most of us, a large portion of our mobile time is driven by social media. Brands, by and large, understand that they need to have a presence on the major social networks, but what’s missing from so many brand interactions is the actual socializing.
If your brand uses social media solely to distribute news updates about your company — without engaging with your followers — then you, my friend, are publishing ads. And if you’re going to publish ads on social, you might as well pay for them and reach a larger audience.
Sarah Mannone is the Executive Vice President of Trekk, a tech-driven creative services agency. She works with Trekk clients to develop strategic marketing plans and craft measurable programs that that span print, web, social, and mobile. As part of the Trekk management team, Sarah is involved in the decisions and strategy around adopting new technologies and applications to meet the current and future needs of Trekk clients. Sarah is a member of the Forbes Agency Council and a frequent speaker at marketing industry events.