Smartphone user activities

Posted on: August 30th, 2012 by writers

Weather app © by Johan Larsson

The modern smartphone user is often thought of as a young consumer constantly glued to their small screen device, using their smartphone at all occasions in all locations. In truth, the average smartphone user is now trending older, but the part about using their smartphones at all times holds true. According to a recent study released by the Online Publishing Association (OPA) on the today’s smartphone users, over two thirds of smartphone users say that the simply “cannot live without” their smartphones by their side.

When the study respondents were asked which media channels they would not be able to live without, a whopping 68% said they could not live without their mobile phones. The smartphone ranked just as high as desktop & laptop computers and televisions for necessary media channels. Aside from placing phone calls, the primary activity consumers used their smartphones for is accessing content and information. This activity ranked higher than checking email, listening to music, playing mobile games and reading e-books. At least half of these consumers access this content and information on a daily basis.

What’s interesting is the number one activity that the average consumer conducts on their smartphone. Watching videos, news and sports content ranked high on the list of top activities, but the number one activity according to the study is … checking for weather information. 47% of study respondents say they use their mobile phones to check weather, handily beating out all other activities.

We would have thought that checking email would be the top activity for the average smartphone owner, but apparently that’s not the case. So if we’re reading the results of this study right, basically there’s a large chunk of American consumers out there that simply “cannot live without” the ability to check the weather on the go. Who would have thought that weather apps were the killer apps for today’s smartphone user?

Smartphone user profiles

Posted on: August 29th, 2012 by writers

Mobile User © by Ed Yourdon

As the mobile landscape continues to evolve every year, so too does the profile of the average smartphone user. Once thought of as “early adopters”, today’s smartphone user has a unique set of behaviors and attitudes towards mobile phones and mobile consumption. A recent report released by the Online Publishing Association (OPA), helps to paint a clearer portrait of today’s smartphone user. As expected, smartphone ownership is rising, but smartphone users on average are leaning towards and older and more affluent crowd, showing the shifting trend in smartphone user demographics.

According to the report, smartphone owners now comprise 44% of the US internet population, up from 31% in 2011. This equates to 107 million smartphone users nationwide. Of these consumers, 46% of them own an Android device, followed closely by iPhones with 35% of smartphone market share. Blackberry has 16% market share while Window Mobile Phone only has 7%. Both Android and iOS saw an increase in market size overall from last year, while every other platform saw a decrease in market size compared to last year’s data.

Smartphone users on average are trending towards an older and more affluent demographic group. Consumers ages 35-64 saw the largest increase in smartphone usage over the course of the year. Consumers with a household income above $50k also saw a large rise, increasing their overall representation in the sample data from 41% to 53%.

Smartphone ownership is expected to continue growing at a rapid pace over the course of this year. New smartphone owners are projected to grow the overall user base to 57% of the US internet population by 2013, with the majority of new users expected to be male and trending older.

You can download the full report from the Online Publishing Association website (PDF format).

Making the case for native apps

Posted on: August 28th, 2012 by writers

Smartphone Evolution © by Phil Roeder

When building a mobile app solution, many organizations are faced with the classic dilemma of building a native mobile app vs. a mobile web app. Each platform comes with its own strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes you’ll find that building a mobile web app is sufficient to meet your customer’s needs, but other times you may want to leverage the full capabilities of modern mobile devices and push forward with a native mobile app. Although native apps may be more powerful, they are more expensive and harder to maintain and deploy, so care must be taken to ensure that one can take full advantage of the rich native features before committing to this larger undertaking.

Some of these more robust features include GPS capabilities, camera functionality and push notification. Push notification allow you to interact with the mobile user even when your application is not in usage, which is a powerful method to increase interaction with your customer. If your product or service plans on making heavy usage of these mobile features then you’ll want to explore a full native app.

Native mobile apps that are launched via popular app stores can also be excellent marketing tools to help promote your business. Certainly a mobile app release creates a lot more buzz and attention than the launch of a mobile website. However, the cost of properly marketing your mobile app has increased this year, according a recent report from Fiksu, a digital marketing firm.

Of course, before you select a mobile platform, you have to have your larger mobile strategy in place. The first place to start with your strategy is with the end user and the desired experience of your product or service on their mobile device. Once you understand your customer’s usage habits, you can decide on building a native mobile app or a mobile web app as part of your larger strategy.

Marketing your mobile app through social sharing

Posted on: August 27th, 2012 by writers

Facebook Connect with Pandora © by abraham.williams

Marketing your mobile app is often the last step in the mobile development process but it’s often the most important step. With over 600,000 apps in the Apple iTunes store, how do you cut through the noise and let the world know about your latest mobile creation? One marketing technique gaining a lot of traction in the mobile space is social sharing, the process of integrating your app with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to share information about user activities.

There are many popular services using different methods of social sharing. Apps like Foursquare, Pandora, Spotify and Instagram are heavily integrated with popular social media platforms and have greatly expanded their reach and exposure as a result of that. Some apps allows their users to log in with their Facebook and Twitter credentials and then offer the option of automatically posting user updates to the social networks. On many apps this is the default option and users must opt-out if they no longer wish to share their activities with friends. This sharing of information allows for everyone in the user’s social network to see the app activities, gaining exposure for the app and services across a wider audience.

This marketing technique is also quite cost effective. Social sharing creates a free marketing channel for your apps that often carries more authenticity than a paid advertising message. Keep in mind that mobile app marketing has gotten more expensive this year, while the rate of mobile app downloads has not increased by much. Attracting and retaining loyal users (someone who downloads and uses your apps 3 or more times) can be an expensive proposition, but having a tool like social sharing at your disposal can help you cut down on your app marketing costs and can grow your mobile app revenue at the same time.

Showrooming on the weekends

Posted on: August 24th, 2012 by writers

inside our showroom! © by lululemon athletica

Do you “showroom” when you shop at brick and mortar stores? If you use your mobile phone to check for prices online when you shop at physical retailers, then you’re a part of the “showrooming” phenomenon that is sweeping the nation! Quick facts about showrooming: According to data released by comScore, 35% of shoppers have “showroomed” in-store and then gone online to buy their products for a cheaper price. Half of the showroomer population is between the ages of 25 to 34 years old. The most popular items for showrooming included consumer electronics, clothing and accessories. Showrooming has also been found to be more of a factor in urban environments.

A new report on the showrooming trend takes a look at the days of usage and notes that shoppers tend to use price comparison apps more on the weekends, especially on Saturday. Popular price comparison apps include Amazon’s PriceCheck app, eBay’s RedLaser app, and other barcode scanning apps. During the week consumers gravitate towards mobile apps from the major retailers like Walmart, Target and Best Buy.

The major factors that lead to showrooming start with basic price comparison and checking to see if the product is available for cheaper online. But another major factor that plays into showrooming is the desire by consumers to see the product in person before committing to the purchase online. A lot of times consumers want to hold the item in their hands and assess the quality so as to avoid a lengthy product return process down the road. Product availability was another factor that plays into consumers checking for their products online. What’s interesting is the fact that Saturday is the biggest day for showrooming, which might indicate that people generally have more time to shop around on lazy Saturdays.

When was the last time you went out showrooming at your favorite stores? Let us know in the comments!