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2013 outlook

The Chinese most definitely are according to GroupM Interaction’s latest survey of close to 1000 respondents.

Some of the most striking results, which I couldn’t help but compare myself to, include:

– 80% of respondents admit sleeping with their phones at arm’s reach (tick);
– 73% of smartphone users wake up to their phone alarm (tick), increasingly making watches a thing of the past (tick);
– 95% use their phones just before bedtime at the ’25th hour’ (er, tick);
– 66% ended a relationship by mobile – making this form of breakup otherwise known as a digital dump – (thankfully not a tick!). On the same note, sadly, according to other non-China specific surveys, most connected users would rather leave their spouses than their iPads at home when they go on holiday…

A quick poll to see if you too are guilty of the above sins! Say yes for those of you who tick 4 or more of the above behaviours.

Finally, we learn that in February this year China overtook the US as the world’s largest smartphone market.

With this in mind, marketers the world over ought to play closer attention to both trending and emerging consumer mobile usage behaviours in that part of the world. Watch, learn and get their marketing ready ahead of these behaviours hitting their shores.

More survey results can be viewed here:

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I have just come across an article on Forbes that outlines the results from Havas Media’s 2013 Meaningful Brand Index.

The MBI measures consumers’ perception of a brand’s influence on society, environment, economy, health and emotional wellbeing – in other words, the higher a brand in the MBI, the more positive impact it is seen having on consumers’ lives.

In this year’s results, tech giants Google, Samsung and Microsoft are the top 3 (interestingly Apple hasn’t made it to the top 10 – a sign that perhaps we are suffering from Apple fatigue?). And according to Havas Media: ‘’What the results tell us is that tech companies have done some powerful things over the last few years to focus on people’s lives and they’re starting to reap the benefits of that.’’

I couldn’t agree more.

However, this brand ranking takes on another dimension when read in conjunction with the following stat:

“The majority of those surveyed worldwide say they wouldn’t care if 73 percent of brands no longer existed tomorrow, and only 20 percent of all brands are viewed as having a positive role in consumers’ lives.” (Just to put this into perspective: 134,000 consumers were interviewed in 23 countries on 700 brands.)

If that statement doesn’t shake things up in the corporate world, then what will?

In short, as a brand you ‘d better play an active role in improving your consumers’ lives if you want to stay ahead of the pack – and more to the point, stay in business in the years to come.

The current economic climate has further reinforced the need for brands to play a meaningful role in our day to day lives and the community at large, and stop taking our custom for granted. Recent research shows that consumers are expecting brands to help solve the issues society faces and provide tangible proof of their efforts – that’s where CSR and Fair Trade come into play (ref. WARC Trends Toolkit 2013 report).

Finally, as I ponder over the correlation between the MBI score and Net Promoter Score (the score we give a brand on how likely we are to recommend it – a key performance indicator for most brands), I would say the higher the MBI ranking, the higher the NPS – which means all brands efforts should focus on the former to help increase the latter.

I have just come across yet more insightful research from our Google friends, which the advertising types amongst us will no doubt find useful.

This time the research focuses on mobile searches – specifically, mobile user search behaviours and the correlation of mobile searches with online and offline conversions.

You can view the full Mobile Search Moments study here – for now, I just wanted to point out a couple of striking stats.

First – their research shows that a staggering 77% of mobile searches happen at home or work (i.e. a location likely to have a PC), with only 17% on the go.

This surprised me at first as I had thought until now that smartphones were used for searching mainly on the move (i.e. when no PC is available). Then I remembered my own behavior at home: since trading my old phone for an iPhone 5, my smartphone has fast become my #1 device of choice for initiating all sort of activities from the comfort of my sofa including checking emails, reading online articles, playing games and … searching.

The study goes on by explaining that the key reason for users preferring their mobile phone over a tablet or PC when searching at home is the convenience and speed it offers. A respondent explains: “It was easier on the mobile device as I didn’t have to get up to turn on the computer and wait for it to boot up”. I could indeed have said this myself to justify my own behavior.

One other key insight that stuck with me is how powerful a conversion tool mobile is:

Not only 3 out of 4 mobile searches trigger follow up actions (e.g. visiting a retailer’s site, sharing the info you have found etc.), but also – and most importantly – 55% of purchase-related conversions (i.e. store visit, phone call or purchase) occur within one hour of the initial mobile search, with that number increasing to 81% within 5 hours.

As the ultimate “always on, anywhere anytime’’ companion device, the ever increasing take up of smartphones and with both a purchase intent and conversions this high, it is easy to see why smartphone users need to be at the top of any marketer’s priority list (sadly not always the case).

And for the time-poor amongst us, the below infographic sums up all other key insights for future reference – Thank you Google!

Screen Shot 2013-06-09 at 4.22.28 PM

Telstra’s latest financial results fresh out of today’s news speak for themselves:

Its mobile business is thriving as it clocked 4 million new customers over the past 3 years, including an additional 607,000 customers and a revenue growth of 4.6% in the last 6 months alone – a healthy growth driven for most part by the sales of its 4G mobile devices and continued expansion of its 4G coverage.

What does that tell us?

Simply that more and more Australians are consuming mobile internet and data services.
That mobile is where the action is and where local advertisers should invest (those that aren’t already or not seriously enough.)

(Yes, I know I am starting to sound like a broken record. And here also.)

Where should I start? (I hear some of you ask)

Optimise your website for mobile for a start.
And if you have a new one on the way, make it responsive (more on this later!).
The same advice goes for email comms.

I recently commmented on most Australian brands not leveraging mobile internet consumption and smartphone uptake. I have just come across some more stats and predictions here, which if turned out to be true will only contribute to making the gap between marketers’ mobile uptake and consumer mobile usage wider. If brands needed more evidence that mobile is fast becoming a key comms and sales channel that can no longer be ignored well here it is…time to get serious and invest into it!

Source: Warc’s latest Global Marketing Index panel.  As marketing budgets continue contracting in APAC and with digital marketing spend in that region still being one of the lowest compared to other parts of the world (US or EU), this adds renewed pressure on large digital agencies to be competitive on price and deliver work for their clients cost effectively..

Yet more pretty damning evidence here. Wake up Australia!

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