US Insights

Stuck in a mobile moment

David Wright

Innovation Specialist

Mobile 03.23.2016 / 12:50

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Marketers, don’t say that later will be better. Kantar’s study of how US mobile users interact with ads reveals opportunities to seize now

In the US as around the world, consumers are living with unprecedented connectivity, able not merely to access information wherever they are and whenever they want, but to buy in these ways, too. According to Kantar Media TGI, 70% of US adults now own a smartphone. Of these smartphone owners, 75% use the devices to access the internet at least once per day, with 54% agreeing, “I couldn’t live without internet on my mobile phone.” As the use of phones to go online only going to becomes a bigger phenomenon, the impact on mobile advertising also will grow. Marketers who understand what’s going on with mobile internet and e-commerce stand to see the greatest success.

Key Numbers

  • 75% of smartphone owners use them to access the internet at least once/day

Kantar has been exploring our mobile behavioral data to gain a better understanding of how Americans interact with mobile ads. We identified 7,500 people who had clicked on at least one search or display ad on their mobile phone over a period of several months. We decided to split the data into mobile “moments” to make the data more manageable. A moment starts when someone begins an activity on their phone, and ends when they stop using the phone. We assumed someone had stopped using their phone and a moment had ended when we recorded a period of 5 minutes of inactivity.

In total, we analyzed 40,000 ad clicks. Here’s what we discovered:

  • Mobile moments that involve an ad click are in the minority, less than one half of one percent.
  • 30% of all mobile moments are less than one minute in length. Communication activities—which we define as phone calls, SMS and instant messenger apps such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp—is the standout activity for these short moments.
  • Mobile moments last twice as long when people are at home.
  • The mobile ad sweet spot occurs during mobile moments that are between 3-15 minutes in length (see/scroll over bubble chart).
  • Mobile moments that are between 3-15 minutes in length occur evenly across the day from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm. The right moment to interact is defined by the person with the phone, not by a clock.
  • During these moments of 3-15 minutes in length, messenger apps such as WhatsApp are the dominant driver of activity, making these a potentially fertile space for advertisers.
  • When activity moments are longer than 15 minutes, the dominant activities shift toward Facebook and entertainment apps (games, videos, etc.)

Our data also shows that when someone clicks on a mobile ad, there is usually a lot of multitasking going on both before and after. The ad is often part of a hunt for something; for example, we see people skipping between a travel booking app -> their calendar -> a messenger app -> search -> an ad -> and then back to the booking app. All this jumping around poses a challenge for brands, but also presents an opportunity as it may indicate that an app is missing a useful function. For example, could the travel booking app in our example integrate a calendar API within the app?

There is an important difference between knowing what mobile moment someone was in, versus understanding the moment someone is entering into. The former is interesting but the latter is actionable. We know people keep clicking, on average, around 30% of their way into any moment. This means machine learning or AI, which processes data in microseconds, has plenty of opportunity to predict whether the moment someone has just started is the sort of moment in which an interaction with an advertiser could add value. This insight has benefits for both publishers and advertisers: while publishers can charge a premium for the “right moment” windows, advertisers can ensure their advertisements are being displayed at an opportune time.

Source: Kantar, Kantar Media

Editor's Notes

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