Men twice as likely to navigate with mobiles: what we learned about smartphones this week

Brits use, on average, a little more than three connected devices each. In 2012, they were using just two. This is just one finding from a slew of reports that were released this week in conjunction with Mobile World Congress.

A massive five-year study by Google and Kantar involving 625,000 interviews around the world found that three in four now use a smartphone, compared with 51% in 2012.

Dependence on the device is growing. Today, more than half of Brits (54%) prefer to do a task digitally, if they can and half reach for their smartphone first thing in the morning (it’s their primary alarm clock).

Two-thirds (65%) use the smartphone to go online at least as much as a computer, and 76% are using their smartphones or other connected devices while watching TV.

Meanwhile 25% of UK men - compared to only 10% of UK women - look up directions and maps on their smartphones at least weekly.

The numbers for Brits under 25 are, as expected, even higher: younger people are using their smartphones to search for information (88%), watch videos (77%), access social networks (90%), and shop (28% buy things weekly, 46% look up product information).

Increasingly, Brits are using apps to do all these things, according to Flurry Analytics’ State of Mobile report.

Flurry, which tracks 940,000 apps, found that UK app usage has grown 28% in the past year. The two biggest spikes were for messaging and social apps (up 46%) and utilities and productivity apps (up 45%).

Data and insights

This heavy usage of smartphones has led to 67% of brands considering telecoms operators to be a better source of data insights than Google, Apple and Samsung, finds a survey by Ovum, commissioned by Synchronoss.

At least, this is true of the brands who are aware that telcos provide this service. The study, which surveyed 300 brands in the US, UK and France, found that nearly half (48%) of all brands are not aware that the service exists. The report points to advertising agencies for not informing clients.

As a result, Google (59%) and Facebook (52%) remain the dominant brand partners for data insights and digital advertising, overall.

Media planners and buyers

With more Brits watching video on mobile, media buyers and planners are naturally keen to include mobile video in their ad campaigns. A study by AdColony, which interviewed 100 media buyers and planners in the UK, found that 51% already include mobile video in their campaigns and 68% expect to increase investment in mobile video in the year ahead.

But of the planners who are using mobile video, they report only using it in less than 10% of their campaigns. Reasons for being put off mobile video are the lack of the right technology partner (42%), ad-blocking (37%), and the transition from the big screen to the small screen (27%).

When it comes to the effectiveness of the campaigns themselves, 53% of planners are concerned about ineffective targeting and 49% believe that creatives are not building campaigns with mobile video in mind.

At a more general level, only 47% of planners are confident in their knowledge of mobile video, and just under a third (32%) lack confidence. This compares to online advertising and magazine advertising, where 75% of planners expressed confidence.

"Planners and buyers are beginning to recognise mobile video as the perfect platform to deliver valuable business outcomes, so the onus is on providers, such as ourselves, to supply the best possible mobile video solutions, and all of the data and insight that comes with it," said Jon Hook, vice-president of brand and agencies, at AdColony.

Planners and buyers are also getting pretty keen on AR and VR, reports Vibrant Media based on a survey of 43 UK-based media planners and buyers. Nearly three in ten (29%) are already buying AR and VR ads for their clients.

Furthermore, 67% want more AR and VR ads incorporated into digital marketing campaigns, primarily to improve customer engagement. In addition, half (49%) expect the interactivity of AR and VR ads will help to counter ad-blocking.

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