Behaviour is the key word here. While mobile has given us insight into consumer behaviour, it’s important to point out how much this behaviour is now being governed by mobile itself. A great example to demonstrate this is Volkswagen’s ‘Eyes on the road’ cinema advert promoting responsible phone usage.
The advert used the locational data of everyone within the cinema to send a locational-based message to the audience. As audience members, all duly glance at their phones in unison, the car in the advert crashes, and they look back up in shock at a broken windscreen.
Not only is it an extremely effective advert, it’s a fantastic example of how advertisers are now able to use geography and context to deliver highly relevant ad content through the power of mobile. It’s also a demonstration of how mobile is having an impact on other, more traditional forms of advertising.
From an ethnographic point of view, it’s fascinating to watch this and other behaviour that is induced by mobile use among today’s "hyper-connected." It also, I believe, allows us to observe three central 'truths' that are impacting the way marketers work.
1. We are always-on
People are "always-on" and their mobiles are forever at an arm’s reach. I was recently at A&E and met a guy who’d sustained an injury playing football. He was in full kit and had clearly come straight from playing. He didn’t have bags, other clothes or even normal shoes. But the one thing he did have? His mobile. For marketers, this means that there are more opportunities than ever before to reach customers, with the typical multiscreen user consuming seven hours of screen media per day. It also means that consumers are being bombarded by content all day, so any campaigns will really have to stand out.
2. We need to rethink the purchase cycle
With mobiles always close at hand, people are constantly consuming content. Whether it’s sourcing answers to questions, streaming live TV, reading articles, or consuming one of the many other sources of content out there, there is an unprecedented demand for content.
Having our mobile with us 24/7 means if we wish to respond to any form of branded communication or brand intervention we will respond at that time, in that place and based on the context received or our mood/emotion. As a result, the traditional purchase cycle is no more. Okay, the cycle looks reasonably the same starting with brand awareness, brand desire, product consideration and intent to purchase through to actual purchase. However, what’s changed is the speed at which consumers go from being passive (having no response to advertising) to suddenly becoming an active buyer. This process is greatly accelerated with continued connectivity.
3. Sharing goes beyond just social networks
The third truth about the hyper-connected era is that it’s all about sharing. For example 80 percent of UK users access Twitter, and 70 per cent of U.S. users access Facebook, via their mobile. But it’s also about more than just social networks. A good article, joke or other piece of content creates discussion, it can unite people on the train or in the workplace. Mobile is an integral part of every-day communication, and as a result it is also successfully increasing the quality of more traditional advertising. People use their mobiles to share opinions and ideas, and combining this with TV can enhance the viewing experience.