Mobile usage is growing rapidly globally

There’s been a lot of talk about engagement via mobile in the advertising and marketing circles, but the overwhelming agreement is that mobile is clearly emerging worldwide as the new ‘first’ screen – or the device of primary engagement.

That does not mean that TV is dying. TV is and will be still around – because it’s still about lean-back entertainment and mute consumption. Mobile is about here and now, about participation and most often about lean-forward. Although there’s a lot of lean-back consumption happening as well on smartphones that allow for enhanced viewing on large screens and better definitions.

Mike Parker, Chief Digital Officer at McCann Worldgroup says “Our recent Truth about Shopping study, that we presented at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona identified that there are really two ‘mobile worlds’ emerging.  One is about browsing and discovery – Pinterest, instagram are becoming the new ‘window shopping’ and catalog browsing.   Were as the other is about mobile on the go, or about action and utility – which e is so much more about doing things, performing tasks, getting business done.”

From an agency point of view, Parker adds “One thing is clear, that our clients are very aware of this shift to mobile usage and are asking questions about where and how to engage consumers in mobile.   We need to ensure that we have the knowledge to be able to incorporate mobile thinking on our strategies and work.  I believe strongly that it wont be long before the small screen is the main screeen, and all of the work we develop for our clients will need to be thought about in terms of displaying on small screens first…”

Here in the Middle East, this should be no surprise at all, because we have really high rates of smartphone adoption, and there are nearly two handsets in each pocket in some countries like the UAE!

There’s a study that’s bee done for the US market by Millard Brown that shows mobile emerging as the clear new first screen (no pun intended). The study reveals that Americans now spend 151 minutes per day on smartphones, next to 147 in front of TVs. But the numbers are even greater elsewhere. In China, consumers spend a whopping 170 minutes a day buried in smartphones, nearly double their TV watching time.

Users in Indonesia, the Philippines, Brazil and Vietnam also spend more total screen minutes on average than the U.S., predominately on mobile.The firm surveyed more than 12,000 mobile users, between the ages of 16 and 44, in 30 different countries, polling consumption of ads over TVs, laptops, smartphones and tablets.

AdAge, covering the report tells us “According to the findings, the smartphone has emerged as the primary screen worldwide, but the firm also found users are watching multiple screens simultaneously, a global trend that is most-pronounced in China.

“It’s still a recent phenomenon that people are tethered to their phones while watching TV,” said Joline McGoldrick, research director at Millward Brown. “Their default is to type something into their smartphone.”

The agency classifies simultaneous screen time into two key buckets: “stacking,” when the consumed content is unrelated (mindlessly surfacing Facebook during a favorite show); and “meshing,” when the content synchs up (searching for an actress in the show).
Across the globe, particularly in Asia, consumers prove much more willing to “mesh” than they do in the US. Only 30% of American screen time is spent soaking in related content. The rates in China, Japan, Indonesia and South Korea are all higher. Sixty percent of Thai users spend their screen time “meshing.”

Ad Age also tells us that, in the report we discover that outside the US, consumers are also much more amenable to ads on their devices. Asian smartphone owners responded far more favorably to ads than counterparts in the US; and they were more attentive to ads splashing across their phones. When it comes to mobile ads, global smartphone users are also noticeably open to watching short videos. “Mobile video is just completely poised to explode,” Ms. McGoldrick said. The agency’s data, she noted, is “showing that other markets are utilizing micro-video more effectively.”

Despite the rise in mobile screen time in the U.S., ad spending has failed to catch up. Smartphones and tablets claim around 44% of daily screen time in the U.S. But media spending for the two devices reaches just $18.9 billion, well short of the roughly $70 billion spent on television, according to eMarketer. (Millward Brown does not track global media spending across each device.).

As posted on the blog by Tom Roy