Mobile is one of the biggest trends of this decade. It has also been one of the main topics in many marketing conferences; yet despite this, many marketing people still do not realize how big a thing it is in marketing and how much it can change marketing. In particular, many current marketers consider it only as a new advertising format or trend, when actually mobile is not a trend, it is a megatrend.
Megatrends are larger than normal trends and they change people’s behaviour more than just normal trends. A megatrend is classed as a large entity that includes several different sub-phenomena and event chains. While normal trends can last for a few years, megatrends can sustain over a decade or more and substantially change people’s behaviour. Megatrends can sometimes be taken for granted (i.e. everyone knows it already), so people do not necessarily see the bigger picture (i.e. the megatrend) and instead they focus usually only on individual sub-phenomena or specific chains of events. However, by seeing the bigger picture and the things that exist in the background of megatrends, we can get a better feel for how the trend and its sub-phenomena might develop further in the future.
The mobile is a good example of a megatrend. When speaking about a mobile, we tend to focus only on individual phenomena or trends, such as instant messaging, games, other applications, advertisements, devices and operating systems, instead of focusing on mobile as a bigger entity and considering how mobile has changed so many things and how it can change people’s behaviour.
On the other hand, we should not think of mobile only as a device centric thing. It is worth remembering that people can do the same things on laptops and computers as they are doing on their mobile devices and vice versa. However, mobile devices and instant accessibility to the technology and all that entails is the main reason why people’s behaviour has changed lately and will continue to change even more in the future.
But how has mobiles changed and how will it continue to change people’s behaviour? A big reason for the change is that people today almost always carry a device around with them and via this device people have the opportunity to be always connected to the Internet, other devices and to other humans. Mobile devices have also become more personal. As an example, a study made in Turku University, Finland, shows the importance of mobile devices for people, and found that the Finns are experiencing nowadays that the mobile phone is even more important than their job or relationship.
Mobile devices have made it possible for people to no longer need to remember information as well as before as people are able to always check the information they want from their device memory or from searching the Internet. In addition, they are able to fill their short-term boring moments with some interesting aspects, such as hanging on social media, reading news, playing games or watching videos. As a generalization we can say that people are using mobile devices to either save or waste their time.
Because of these several short moments throughout the day spent on their mobiles, people’s behaviour has become more hectic, and they no longer seem to focus on things as carefully as before. A new way of thinking has been formed, one where information can always be checked. People’s attention spans have become a kind of lighter. Mobile devices have enabled people to always be able to find something to watch, which constantly competes for their attention.
Fighting for people’s attention is bigger than ever before. Large traditional media companies are still getting a big share of people’s attention, but at the same time, people’s attention are also being fought over by the same companies, by digital media and also by individual people, via their Facebook posts, tweets, Instagram photos, cat videos, etc.
People’s attention is now shared primarily between the mobile device and the outside or real world. Mobile devices already occupy a big share of people’s attention. When people’s attention is divided more, it also weakens people’s attention ability. For example, a study made by Linda Henkel found that people who took pictures of art when visiting a museum had a worse memory for objects, and for specific object details, when they took photos of them. This is a case of, why pay too much attention to the individual thing, if you are almost always able to check the information later on?
A large proportion of marketers are currently only using mobiles as an advertising format or surface and do not yet understood how much mobiles can change marketing. It is true that this is a new kind of advertising format, but in addition it can change people’s behaviour for example in a way that traditional media no longer draws attention to in the same way as before. In order for marketers to get people’s attention, they should think carefully about how marketers could get and/or earn people’s attention.
Although mobile devices are the main reason for consumers’ attention ability fragmentation, they also provide better possibilities to compete to gain people’s attention than there has ever been before. For example:
The amount of data about consumers has exploded, bringing various different targeting possibilities for advertising. There is a possibility to do more relevant and targeted advertising, which consumers usually tend to notice better than mass advertising.
Marketers have the opportunity to be a part of people’s lives in a way that was previously not possible, because nowadays, mobile devices are almost always somewhere close to people. One example is the Endomondo app owned by the Under Armour. With the app, Under Armour has a possibility to be part of the daily life of an athlete or indeed anyone aiming just to get fit or to maintain fitness.
Different apps and media on mobile have begun to move away from the traditional ad formats based on interruption to a new native ad format. New native formats tend to perform better than old ones and enable also new possibilities for storytelling and advertisements chaining, which have previously not been possible.
People are hungry for information, but only when they are ready to receive it. Marketers should offer interesting and targeted content, but it is better for information to consist of small pieces which are easily digestible. Naturally, the contents must also be easy to find and the user experience should be optimized for mobile devices.
07 Jan 2017