Tag Archives: Mobile technology

Getting Chosen

You probably have been spending a lot more time interacting with your mobile device over the last year.  You’re not alone, and much of that interaction takes place through apps.  I don’t know about you but I have a lot of apps installed (and even more that I’ve used and uninstalled over the years).  I just checked my phone and there are 131 app icons.  Putting aside that there’s probably a dozen or so that are pre-installed crapware from my carrier and the handset manufacturer (I ranted about that previously – you get a reprieve today), that’s still a large number of apps competing for my attention.  There are hundreds of thousands more in the app store too.

My reality, and I’m guessing yours too, is that I only use a couple of dozen of them on any sort of regular basis.  Turns out we’re not alone, at least according to the good folks at Nielsen:

Despite the increase in choices, the number of apps used is staying the same. A recent Nielsen analysis found that on average, U.S. smartphone users accessed 26.7 apps per month in the fourth quarter of 2014—a number that has remained relatively flat over the last two years. And consider this: Over 70% of the total usage is coming from the top 200 apps.

However, while there appears to be a consumer threshold to the total number of apps people are willing and/or able to actively use during the month, the time they spend engaging on those apps has increased. In fact, the monthly time spent per person has increased from 23 hours and two minutes in fourth-quarter 2012 to 37 hours and 28 minutes in fourth-quarter 2014—a 63% rise in two years! So the reward for being one of the chosen apps is heavy engagement by the user.

It appears our app usage mirrors our TV usage.  While we might have access to hundred of TV channels, most of us only watch 21.  As has happened with TV, the engagement deepens with the chosen few.  The challenge for any business is to become one of those two dozen.  The means making the potential user base aware that you are the best solution to their problem, whether it’s how to amuse one’s self or how to get to a place you’ve never been or how to get clothes that are reasonably priced and fit well.  It means avoiding the dreaded “uninstall” – that action that takes place whether you’re an app or not when a customer moves on since you didn’t deliver on the promise made.  Maybe you were boring.  Maybe you were bloated with ads.  Maybe you tried to sneak in a lot of extra charges.  Those things aren’t limited to apps but they’ll lose you the “chosen” status much of the time.

What are you doing to be chosen today?

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Disconnecting On The Phone

A report this morning from Kitewheel got my attention this morning. They “examined the current breakthroughs and breakdowns in engagement with today’s connected consumer.” The results aren’t very encouraging to those of us who like to think we’re in touch with the expectations of our consumer base

They hired some folks to survey consumers and marketing decision makers with respect to consumer expectation around experience and brand execution.  A few key findings:

  • 76% of consumers use mobile devices to compare prices and read reviews while shopping, yet 51% of marketers are not currently managing mobile apps as a consumer touch point.
  • 55% of consumers state frustrations in downloading an app that offers no functional difference from a business’ website.
  • 68% of consumer respondents expect a response to tweets directed at a brand, and one in three expect a response within 24 hours. Yet 45% of marketers state it is unlikely that their company can respond to every one of these social media opportunities.
  • 73% believe that loyalty programs should be a way for brands to show consumers how loyal they are to them as a customer; but 66% of marketers still see it the other way around.

In other words, we’re disconnected from those who access our brands via their phones.  We look at loyalty programs as consumers putting their hands in the air to show they love us.  They want them to be ways in which we show how much we love them.  Doesn’t sound like the basis for a happy relationship.

Five areas of disconnect were discovered including: mobile, social media, real-time e-commerce, omni-channel capability and brand loyalty.  Every one of those five has become far more important over the last decade and yet it seems as if many marketers are living in 1999.  As the study says, the overall journey of today’s consumer is frequently a broken one, with significant misalignment between consumer expectations and brand execution.  We need to think about how to fix that misalignment and do so quickly.  You agree?

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Filed under Consulting, Huh?

Witch Doctor Technology

Like many of you who read the screed, I’m a fairly literate person when it comes to technology.

English: Witch doctor of the Shona people clos...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know – given what I do for a living one would hope that’s true.  That’s why my recent experience with some very common technology – a cell phone – is so frustrating.  Over the weekend my family all upgraded their devices.  The girls all moved to iPhone 4S and I moved to a Samsung Galaxy S3.  Both are great devices.  However, they both illustrate a point that’s all too common and what I want to discuss today.

My phone came with the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android.  I knew that there was a Jellybean update available – an upgrade to the latest version of Android.  While the ability to update the OS via an over the air download exists, because the manufacturers and the carriers can’t get on the same page, one needs to install the upgrade via a piece of software that lives on a computer.  I installed it on a windows PC, connected the phone and waited.  And waited.  Apparently, it’s a known issue to connect the device to the PC – a software issue.  I tried it on a Mac.  Same issue.  A few minutes of searching the web told me that there were a number of potential fixes that involved editing the Windows registry (not for the faint of heart), modifying phone settings, uninstalling and reinstalling device drivers, etc.  Nothing worked.

I used Samsung’s live chat customer support.  They had me try a few things I had also found on the web.  Nothing.  They said to uninstall the software which, of course, involves a reboot of the computer, which means you lose the person with whom you’re chatting and can’t get back to the same person again so you start over.  After many hours of this, I’ve given up.  Before the Apple fanboys and girls chime in, let me say that upgrading an iPhone to a new version of iOS ended up bricking my wife’s phone for a while and the number of issues I’ve had with Mountain Lion on my Mac is frightening.

Here is the business point.  No other industry with which I’m familiar releases products with known issues, and when the issues become public doesn’t seem to be in any particular rush to fix.  The G3 is a best-selling phone and to get to the latest operating system shouldn’t take the technologic equivalent of tossing chicken bones and burning incense.  Thousands of people are frustrated by this – I’m sure Samsung and the carriers (it’s not just a one carrier issue) are well aware.  If we want tech to be integral – more integral – in customers’ everyday lives we can’t behave this way.  Imagine if airplanes or cars were released with the kind of stability we see in most technology.

I don’t know what anyone can do other than to vent as I’m doing.  For me not buying the product is not an option.  Maybe that’s why these companies don’t seem to care.  But witch doctor solutions to these issues has to stop.  Do you agree?

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Filed under digital media, Helpful Hints

I Can’t See You

Once in a while we play a little game of compare and contrast which is what we’ll be doing today.

Person with PDA handheld device.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The two items causing a bit of cognitive dissonance are studies from Pew and from Mongoose Metrics.  Let’s start with Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project:

  • Nearly a third (31%) of adult U.S. mobile Web users say they now go online mostly through their cell phones
  • Leading the mobile-only Web trend are young people and minorities. Nearly half of all 18- to-29-year-olds (45%) who access the Internet on phones do most of their online browsing on their mobile device. Half (51%) of African-Americans and 42% of Hispanics in the same category also mostly go online through their phones. By contrast, only 24% of white mobile Web users turn mainly to their devices for Web access.
  • Less affluent (income of under $50,000 annually) and less well-educated people were also more likely to rely mostly on their phones for Web browsing than those with higher incomes and college or higher levels of education.

OK – pretty straightforward.  Nearly everyone has a mobile device, more than half (55%) use them to go on the web at some point, and as incomes go down the mobile device tends to become the primary point of access.  Got it.  Next.

Part of the 2012 Mongoose Metrics Data Series found that mobile internet access accounts for approximately 9 percent of all traffic. However, the report also found that about 10 percent of websites are fully optimized for mobile access, which means 90 percent are incapable of serving these users completely.

Oops.  You can read the study here if you’re interested.  It also reminds us that 80% of users preferred mobile sites when searching for prices and product reviews.  But then again, if they can’t see the great content you have, what difference does it make?

We’re at yet another point of change.  The desktop computer is dying a lingering death, and I think it will be an enterprise-only device within 5 years.  So why are a lot of us behaving as if nothing has changed?  We need to be thinking and building mobile first, as the data points out.  After all, being discoverable and social is useless if you’re not optimally visible.

Right?

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Filed under digital media, Helpful Hints

It’s Not ADD, It’s Technology

Time published the results of a study on media habits and the proliferation of mobile digital devices.  If you do decide to click-through and read it, be prepared to be disturbed.  I was.  Then again, I’m what is called in the study a “digital immigrant” – someone who picked up mobile technology in his adult life which was, of course, when it was invented.  Digital natives are those who grew up with the technology.  Since we’re all about being helpful here (and since if you’re under 30 your attentionis likely to wander in about 5 seconds according to this), let me post some of the key findings:

Nokia N8

Photo credit: Wikipedia

  • Digital Natives switch their attention between media platforms (i.e. TVs, magazines, tablets, smartphones or channels within platforms) 27 times per hour, about every other minute.
  • Because Digital Natives spend more time using multiple media platforms simultaneously, their emotional engagement with content is constrained. They experience fewer highs and lows of emotional response and as a result, Digital Natives more frequently use media to regulate their mood – as soon as they grow tired or bored, they turn their attention to something new.
  • More than half (54%) of Digital Natives say “I prefer texting people rather than talking to them” compared with 28% of Digital immigrants
  • One major implication of these findings is that Digital Immigrants are intuitively linear – they want to see a beginning, middle, and end to stories. For Natives, stories still need a beginning, middle and end, but they will accept it in any order. Digital Natives are subconsciously switching between platforms and can pick up different pieces of a story from different mediums in any order.

Let me add some random points from an article on A.D.D., which seems to be running rampant among young folks:

  • (ADD) is characterized primarily by inattention, easy distractibility, disorganization, procrastination, and forgetfulness
  • Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities.
  • Is often easily distracted.
  • Avoiding tasks that require a high amount of mental effort and organization
  • Often having difficulty concentrating on conversations

Is it me, or do you see the similarities?  One might wonder if the ADD diagnosis can be applied to anyone whom Time classifies as a Digital Native.  Maybe instead of giving Ritalin and Adderall we ought to be taking away smartphones and tablets?

Thoughts?

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