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Mobile Phone Use In-Home is Increasing - What does it mean for brands?

Businesses hear the constant drumbeat of “digital, digital, digital” and continue to hone their online marketing to build awareness, attract consumers, and grow revenue. But times are changing in terms of how consumers are accessing online information and brands need to keep up. The Pew Research Center recently released the 2019 update to their annual Mobile Technology and Home Broadband research. Here are some key data points that come out of the report:

  • 81% of Americans own a smartphone
  • 27% of U.S. adults do not subscribe to home broadband services
  • 46% of smartphone owners say they “mostly” use a smartphone to access the internet
  • Share of smartphone users who use a desktop, laptop or tablet as a primary device has dropped from 53% to 30% (the remaining 23% say they use their devices equally)
  • 58% of all 18-29 year olds use smartphones as their primary tool to get online
  • Lower income adults are more likely to be smartphone-only internet users

Go Beyond Digital to Think Mobile

The research shows that the drumbeat needs to shift to “mobile, mobile, mobile” for brands. We’ve been hearing about mobile-first design for years, but the reality is: brand experiences on smartphones are about a lot more than adapting your webpage to render nicely on a small screen. How people interact with your brand on a smartphone is going to be a lot different from how they interact on a desktop.

Shorten Your Message Most likely your audience is no longer sitting at a desk while they browse your website or social media feed. They are probably on the couch or, ahem, in the bathroom, and their attention span is divided among other inputs.  Plus, by nature of the technology, screens are a lot smaller, so space is limited. Brand messages need to be briefer and to-the-point to register with consumers.

Clarify Your Call-to-Action Because of the need to abbreviate your message, you need to choose what you want the goal of each marketing element to be. Don’t try to make your digital assets be all things at once. Dedicate pieces to brand awareness or lead generation or direct response. Be exceedingly clear about what you hope the viewer will do and gear the collateral toward that action.

Rethink Contact Methods Web forms are infuriatingly difficult to navigate to and complete on mobile devices. (Hello “fat fingers”!) Don’t forget the dual functionality of a smartphone. Leverage your phone number in your ads, on your website, and in your digital communications. Vanity phone numbers will help you stand out and make your phone number a more engaging part of your contact information. Include it in your header, so it’s always an inviting option. Click-to-call technology makes it remarkably easy to reach out with minimal effort. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that phone calls are proven to be more effective in converting sales and result in higher average order values.

Take Advantage of Second Screen Ideology Second Screen programs are built upon the fact that more and more adults are viewing two screens at a time:  a primary screen such as their TV and the secondary screen being the smartphone. It’s popular with television shows to bump up engagement and generating interactivity, but it’s something that all advertisers can use to increase interest. Create unique mobile experiences for the ads that you develop, whether they are TV ads, YouTube ads, billboards, radio, or even print. You can create a unique, memorable and favorable brand impression by connecting an ad to something more than your homepage – even with something as simple as a quiz or a poll.

Expand Engagement Options With mobile technology, brands have a wider variety of communication tools to offer to consumers. Let individuals decide how they would like to contact you. There can be dedicated apps, SMS, texting, live chat, social, and more. Because of the portability of a smartphone, you never know where or when a prospect might reach out, so keep all lines of communication open.  

The most important takeaway is that consumers are becoming more discerning about how they interact with brands. Smartphone technology provides more flexibility for brands to get in touch with consumers and for consumers to get in touch with businesses. It gives the opportunity for more personalization than before. But nothing is more personalized than a phone call, where you can understand intonation, ask nuanced questions, and build customer loyalty from hello. Smartphones aren’t just mini versions of desktop computers; they are enhanced internet machines that have the power to create greater human connection through the quick dial of a phone number. And, your brand can always benefit from a humanizing touch.

So, What Are You Waiting For?

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