Drowsiness: The Mobile Marketing Opportunity

You may be bleary-eyed, with your smartphone slipping from your fingers. You may be glancing worriedly at the clock radio, wondering if you can get by on only five hours of sleep tonight. Your spouse may even be getting irritated by the new klieg-style bedroom nightlight that is the Retina Display iPad at full-bore brightness. But if you are stealing a few minutes or hours of sleep time to do a mobile task on your portable device, then you may be tired -- but fella, you are engaged.

So says our old buddy Joy Liuzzo, founder of research and advisory firm Wave Collapse, in her latest creative metrics snack. Joy set out to understand what activities draw people in so much that they will sacrifice sleep. If a user is that deeply involved in an activity, then it provides the “perfect context for an advertiser to promote their message.” When people will give up something of value to them in order to engage in an activity, “there is something about that contextual environment that is a very good spot for an advertiser,” she says.



In her survey of about 500 smartphone and reading device owners, 56% said they stay up later than they would like “almost always.” The up-laters were more likely than others to own either nook, Kindle Fire or Apple TV gadgets. It is the tablet that is keeping more people up late, with 35% of respondents staying up later than they like with their larger-screen devices and 26% with smartphones.

Among those who did engage in past-bedtime media use, most were using their devices as portable video screens. In the survey, 59% of the up-laters were using a tablet to view a video, movie or TV show and 55% were using their smartphone to do the same. Game player (54%) was the next-most popular bedtime activity. Less than half were browsing the Internet on a tablet (47%) or phone (32%) and 46% were playing games on their smartphone.

Generally, people are staying up late with devices at about the same rate they stay up late with TV and PCs. But late-night device use produces more anxiety and distraction, Liuzzo finds. In essence, they are even more willing than usual to be diverted (perhaps by a promotion) -- or even soothed -- by an ad strategy that targets mood as much as it does demo. 

The propensity for distraction when using devices may actually be part of the explanation for such high engagement and ad performance rates on devices, Liuzzo tells Mobile Marketing Daily. "When people are distracted, they are more likely to 'play along' with advertisers and engage with an ad," she says. "This means that for campaigns running rich media ads (engagement with content) or video ads (requires longer attention) or those campaigns that are trying to drive CTR, focusing effort in the post-bedtime hours will produce a much larger ROI than other times of the day when people are more focused."  

Ad recall and impact seem to be strongest for people who are using tablets to view video and mobile phones to browse the Internet. But, Liuzzo warns, there is room for improvement when it comes to relevancy in tone and message. Advertisers can seize this opportunity to consider their dayparts when targeting campaigns, and consider the kinds of messaging their consumer will encounter at bedtime.

There is no sense asking someone to take an action that requires their getting out of bed and grabbing a credit card during the bedtime daypart, she says. Instead, "weave the message into what's coming up tomorrow," she recommends. "For QSRs it can be about what's on the breakfast or lunch menu, for retailers it can be about how to make the morning less stressful with easy clothing choices, or for finance companies it can be about making better choices. We are in a reflective, dreamy state during this time of night and advertisers who craft relevant messages can make a big impact."

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