The Quest To Understanding Mobile Content Consumption

Hey, I’m Chris. I wrote this article and I’m also the founder and Editor of DailyTekk. Lets connect on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. Check back daily!

Kimberly Grimms is a futurist and a blogger who spends most of her time monitoring social behavior in search for new consumer and trends. 

People access more media and information now than they otherwise would because of mobile devices. They do more of everything — read news, listen to music, watch videos, chat with friends, shop, play games, etc. They do these things while waiting for a bus, riding a train, eating, working, stuck in traffic, or walking. This generation has clearly mastered the art of multitasking. It is sometimes amazing how one can post a photo on social media while crossing the street (which is of course very dangerous).

Mobile content consumption has skyrocketed over the popularity of smartphones. A 2014 report from Millennial Media and comScore reveals that 44% of online content is now consumed via smartphones, 12% on tablets, and 44% on desktop computers. What’s more is mobile isn’t just an option now, it’s the popular choice. In 2013, mobile-only users grew nine times faster, while desktop users decreased by 45%. This trend led to the boost in the mobile-only content marketing strategy as opposed to the mobile-first technique. Although cross-platform consumption is still the norm, mobile is clearly leading the pack. This is why understanding the process of mobile content consumption and the consumers’ behavior should be a primary concern of all online marketers. After all, mobile marketing isn’t just a trend now. It will evolve, but it is here to stay.

Getting to know the new digital consumer

Photo courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay
Photo courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay

The millennial customer has really inspired many changes in mobile marketing. This is a generation whose options are so wide and varied. They expect technology to just work for them so make sure yours works perfectly. There are approximately 80 million millennial customers in the U.S. alone, so it doesn’t matter what you think of them. All that you should know is that this market is very important.

Mobile technology is closest to the hearts of millennials. They don’t watch TV, and even if they do, they are probably browsing their Facebook timeline at the same time. A research from Pew shows that four out of five millennials sleep with a cellphone next to them. A related Nielsen survey also reported that mobile users spend 34 hours a month on a smartphone, mostly browsing apps.

They do everything on a smartphone including donating to charity. A Forbes article called the smartphone the new catchall: it is a bar for hookups, a concierge for all information, and an adviser on style, relationships, etc. When millennials are lonely, they drink and smoke less. Instead, they bring out their phones. The new digital consumer is also very sociable, with accounts on every social media platform. They are also very opinionated and write reviews for everything.

What are they doing on mobile devices?

Photo courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay
Photo courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay

The important question for content marketers: what types of content are people consuming? The report from Millennial Media and comScore found that 95% use their smartphones to stream radio and listen to music. It’s no wonder music apps are the boss right now. The other content categories consumers are buying are games (85%), social media (72%), weather (70%), and retail (53%). The digital consumer absorbs almost the same amount of news, food, business, and travel content on a smartphone as they would on a desktop.

It happens at home

You would think that when you want to access the Internet and you are at home then your good old PC is the way to go. After all, wouldn’t you want a bigger screen? Apparently, people today don’t mind. People don’t just use mobile devices when they are on the go. They use it as much when they are at home. A report by the Harvard Business Review revealed new data showing 68% of consumers’ smartphone use happens at home. They call it “me time.” They watch entertaining videos and read gossip, window shop and play games.

Understanding goals and motivations

Photo courtesy of Rainer_Maiores via pixabay
Photo courtesy of Rainer_Maiores via pixabay

Just like most human processes, the content consumption process has to have goals and motivations. What could be the reasons why people use smartphones? In the study called “Seven Shades of Mobile,” AOL and BBDO tracked mobile activities of more than 1,000 users. The main motivation is seeking relaxation and entertainment for 46% of mobile users. Nineteen percent are motivated to socialize and interact, 12% shop, 11% accomplish businesses, finances, and try to be productive, 7% prepare for activities like travel, 4% discover new information, and a mere 1% are motivated by self-expression. Understanding the reasons why people go mobile for their online activities is a vital part of content marketing.

Video is the new king

If your content marketing strategy doesn’t involve videos, then you are missing a lot. One of the things you need to know about the mobile behavior of modern consumers is how visual they are. A study by video marketing firm Ooyala revealed that mobile video plays doubled in Q4 of 2014. The number of plays went up to 16 times more than the numbers in 2011, with 38% on online video plays happening on a mobile device. And when it comes to video content, short but sweet is still the way to go. The study further showed that 54% of mobile phone viewing was spent on a 10-minute or shorter video.

Evolution of the e-mail and all things traditional 

Listen up, email marketers. People don’t just open e-mails when they get to their desks. They check their emails all the time because now, they can. A research showed that 45% of email views happened on a mobile device and 33% on a mobile application. In fact, even SMS is in trouble. Sending text messages used to be the coolest thing ever, but chat apps have since taken over. A Gigaom research found that as far back as 2012, 19 billion messages have been sent using mobile apps against only 17.6 SMS messages.

Mobile shopping and spending

Photo courtesy of FirmBee via pixabay
Photo courtesy of FirmBee via pixabay

People use the Internet to shop. But just how many? Statistics show that 80% of the online population has purchased something online, with 50% of them buying online more than once. Why online shopping? Most people want to save time and avoid crowds. In short, online shopping is more convenient. And when we say convenience, we mean mobile. One research showed that retailers with online platforms get higher profit. In the 2015 Internet Retailer Mobile, 26 retailers out of 200 generated $180 million in web revenues, with 27.3% coming from smartphone purchases. Spending has now obviously gone mobile.

Search is over: mobile wins

When people want to “google” something, their instinct is not to face a desktop computer. Their instinct is to reach for their mobile devices instead, regardless if they are at home or in the office. According to a research by Google, more search queries take place on a smartphone than on a computer in at least 10 countries including the U.S. and Japan. It is clear that the growth of mobile search is just taking off and marketers must now realize that mobile devices are their primary screens.

To no one’s surprise actually, mobile devices are changing the way people consume web content, faster than most experts have predicted. Mobile content is highly in-demand. For everything from research, news, entertainment, and socialization, mobile is our first go-to platform. In some cases, it is the only one that matters.

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