Compete Blog: Smartphone Owners – A Ready and Willing Audience

Mar 16, 2010

By Danielle Nohe

Through a special arrangement,
presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from
the Compete Blog. Compete Inc. is a web analytics company that
focuses on understanding how consumers use the internet.

Years ago, when smartphones were introduced
to the market, they were promoted as devices to help the busy, on-the-go,
business professional. It was a tool primarily made available to access
one’s email, calendar and contacts when away from the desk or travelling.
Today, that is far from the case — they are integrated into the daily
lives of all types of consumers, and Compete is tracking that changing behavior.

The good news for brands trying to market
through the mobile device starts with the amount of time people are spending
on their devices throughout the day. For starters, consumers’ primary
usage of their smartphones is for reasons of personal productivity and
entertainment. In fact, when asked how much time is spent on personal use
(with the remaining being on business), 74 percent of smartphone owners
indicated they are using their device primarily for personal reasons. However,
we wanted to further break out usage, so we asked smartphone owners how
much time is spent on their smartphone at various times of the day. Below
we can look at when, throughout the day, the device is getting the most

It is clear that smartphones are being used
at nearly all points of the day, from the morning train ride into the city,
to the waiting room at the doctor’s office, to texting with friends at
night while trying to understand that week’s episode of Lost.

So while smartphone owners may be always
available, the concern is how receptive these consumers might be to mobile

Looking at top two box results (those selecting
a four or five), we saw consumers were most interested in receiving grocery
coupons (36 percent), scanable barcodes (29 percent), offers to save and
pursue at leisure (26 percent), movie theater offers (26 percent), and
ads via SMS when going by a retailer with a promotion / coupon (21 percent).

The fact that over one in five smartphone
owners would be interested in these top five is very promising for the
mobile marketing industry, considering it is still in its early stages.
Brands need to focus on engaging and driving behavior of these ‘early adopters’
in order to help bring these concepts to mass market.

Discussion Questions:
When do you think mobile advertising will reach mainstream status?
If only a minority currently is interested in grocery coupons and even
less in text message ads when they arrive at a store, how should retailers
and brands be pursuing this opportunity in its early stages?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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12 Comments on "Compete Blog: Smartphone Owners – A Ready and Willing Audience"

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Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson
11 years 1 month ago

Still limited adoption, and way too many applications that are NOT being used. A shakeout is coming.

David Biernbaum
11 years 1 month ago

Consumer advertising on Smart Phones will become mainstream only when consumers perceive the practical benefits for themselves vs. the perception that such activity is really only benefiting the advertiser, and not the consumer.

Max Goldberg
11 years 1 month ago

Mobile advertising will reach mainstream status when advertisers provide valuable services to consumers, rather than pushing advertising to them or when advertisers offset the cost of mobile phone service by paying consumers to watch ads.

Traditional push advertising won’t work. To be effective, an advertiser must offer something that the consumer finds valuable: information, entertainment or financial reward.

Paula Rosenblum
11 years 1 month ago

Retailers have to do something to engage consumers on their smart phones YESTERDAY, not 3-5 years from now.

Whether it’s targeted promotions or something related to loyalty, the alternative is dark…endless price shopping, and turning your store into a showroom, that will be used to select the item that they immediately purchase online from your competitor.

Having said that, mass advertising will be even less successful on the phone than it is on TV in a post-DVR world.

Steve Montgomery
11 years 1 month ago

This may be partly a generational issue. I admit I really like having a smart phone that has all my contacts, information relating to my last contact with them (calls and emails), the ability to send and receive emails, etc. But I don’t want to get advertising on it. I get enough unwanted content at the office via spam; I don’t need it on my phone.

Warren Thayer
11 years 1 month ago

I’m with Steven Montgomery on this one. For those who know me, no surprise there, I’m sure.

Jonathan Marek
11 years 1 month ago
It is striking to me how low all of those “would you like X?” survey answers are. It shows that no one has hit upon the right model yet. If I think about Google Search ads, and what makes them special, it is that they are unobtrusive and feel like additional information. Google’s black box and their bidding process ensure that served ads are generally relevant. They come off as content, not spam. In mobile, I haven’t seen anyone that hits on that model yet. I don’t think it’s a scannable coupon for 25 cents off Tide (like I’m going to remember that, pull it up on my device, and hand it to the checkout person at the supermarket, all for $0.25?) But I can imagine applications: I scan a bar code in store and see peer reviews of the item, with some “featured” based on relevance and ad money. Or, I’m walking down the street searching for a restaurant and Chili’s pops up on my map with a logo (and maybe an offer?). Check… Read more »
Jeff Weidauer
Jeff Weidauer
11 years 1 month ago

Mobile advertising is already there, at least in terms of the audience. The problem is that the advertisers still think in “old media” terms and use this medium accordingly. It’s time to change our thinking and make relevance and usability a key point. That’s NOT a 25 cent coupon for Tide.

There has to be a focus on adding real value to the shopper; much like an app, she needs to have a reason to engage with you. Just dumping an ad or coupon onto a mobile device won’t cut it.

Mike Romano
Mike Romano
11 years 1 month ago
Mobile advertising is already playing an important role in corporate brands. Without a doubt it’s still in its infancy, however, don’t doubt for a second that it’s coming. For example, is delivering over 30 million mobile ads/month to OPTED-IN consumers who have agreed to receive ads from brands, along with their requested mobile content. Google and Apple did not invest a combined $1B to acquire mobile ad networks on the “hope” that mobile advertising will play a mutually beneficial role for brands and consumers. It will. It’s easy for late adopters or naysayers to sit on the sidelines and be critical right now about mobile advertising, however, those thousands of companies that are “Built to Last” like P&G, Coke, etc, have been utilizing mobile and mobile advertising for years. They are convinced by the early returns and continued customer enthusiasm that mobile advertising will be a critically important channel for them to the extent P&G is re-allocating tens of millions of ad dollars away from traditional media into mobile and social media in 2010.… Read more »
Doron Levy
Doron Levy
11 years 1 month ago

This is a situation where you have to give to get. You want access to my smartphone? It’s going to cost you. And 10 percent off isn’t going to do it. Freebies are the way into someone’s smartphone case….

Harris Fogel
Harris Fogel
11 years 1 month ago

Up until recently, I would have said that I did not anticipate receiving offers on my smartphone any time soon. I may still agree with that from a traditional CPG perspective but from a retail/hospitality perspective have changed my mind. Through opt-in websites such as scoutmob and groupon, offers are being made available that are emailed or pushed to my smartphone that I find relevant — a good way to save the consumer money and drive revenue for the retailer or restaurant.

Phil Rubin
11 years 1 month ago

The problem with “Mobile Advertising” is partly semantic: it’s not just about advertising. The opportunity in mobile marketing is in permission-based relationship marketing. The examples Harris cites above are all opt-in driven as opposed to so much of advertising which is simply “targeted” to likely customers or prospects.

Mobile marketing is here–it’s been “arriving” for years and it is not going away. What is going away is the practice of mobile marketing following traditional advertising models and mindsets!


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