Highlights from Nielsen’s Mobile Consumer Report

(Source: by Nick Mulligan in News on 19 March 2013)

Nielsen’s Mobile Consumer Report

Nielsen have just released their Mobile Consumer Report. It’s got some interesting findings, so we thought we’d give you a summary.

The current landscape
Mobile phone ownership in both developed and high-growth countries has reached a critical mass, with no growth from the first half of 2012. The high rates of ownership are shown in the below graph:

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Nevertheless, the kinds of phone we own are changing. Smartphone ownership is highest in South Korea, China, Australia and the UK, whilst those in Turkey and Brazil were most likely to own a multimedia phone. Feature phones are most popular in India, owned by 80% of all those with a device.

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Some countries have a higher prevalence of multiple-device ownership, too, as highlighted by the coloured segments in these pie charts:

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The report also contains interesting information on where and why we purchase our devices. 49% of Russian mobile users purchased their device at a major electronics or media store, whilst 39% of those in the UK purchased online. Factors vary by location: value for money is most important in the US, UK, Italy and China, as opposed to Russians who care about ‘stylish design’ or Chinese consumers, who want a large choice of apps.

Behaviours: shopping, social & video
Worldwide, text messaging is by far the most popular use of a mobile device. E-mail, instant messaging, social networking and the general use of apps are big too; the latter two showing high penetration in almost all markets other than India. Within the use of applications, social networking is strongest in the US, where 85% of smartphone owners are regular users, followed by 67% in Brazil and 60% in China. 58% of UK smartphone owners regularly make use of social apps.

Smartphones have the biggest impact on shopping for US users, who are most likely to use their devices for in-store price comparison, online coupons and purchasing products.

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Another big use of smartphones is in watching mobile video, the frequency of which is shown below. This is most prevalent in emerging markets, especially China, and less so in the developed world, with the exception of the US.

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In most countries, video is most often accessed via mobile web, but South Korean and UK users prefer to use a mobile app. In the US, both mobile web and applications are hugely popular: 72% of smartphone owners watch mobile video through these. Downloading clips is the least popular method in most countries, other than in India, where it outranks applications and Russia, where the two are level.

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Mobile advertising
As smartphone usage grows, it is unsurprising that mobile advertising increases with it. In every country other than India, more than 50% of smartphone users who receive mobile ads did so at least once a day.

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The effectiveness of these ads varies by country, too. In developed countries, people are less likely to click on adverts, whilst fast-developing countries see greater success. Interestingly, whilst it was shown above that Indian smartphone owners are least likely to receive ads, they are more likely to submit personal details once an ad is seen.

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To conclude…
So, there’s a whole host of information about the differing nature of mobile ownership around the world. We’re seeing smartphones take over the developed world, with developing economies following not too far behind. All across the world, we’re using our phones for more and more exciting activities: apps, social networking, m-commerce. When it comes to mobile advertising, we’ve seen an increase in volume, which may well be responsible for a dip in effectiveness.

There’s plenty more in the report, too. For even more information, as well as details of the research methodology in different countries, make sure to have a look at the whole thing.

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Lack of Staff, Strategy, Top Obstacles to Mobile Marketing

Source: Patricia Odell, Chief Marketer, May 27, 2012

Smartphones now account for almost half of all wireless devices in use by mobile users and with that, the adoption of mobile marketing programs continues to gain strength. Even so, there are important challenges holding businesses back from executing the programs, including a lack of resources and a well thought out strategy, according to a new survey from StrongMail.

Some 45% of respondents have adopted mobile marketing with 57% executing the programs for 12 months or less, 29% for one-to-two years and only 14% for three years or more.

The most popular forms of mobile marketing are mobile websites (70%), mobile applications (55%) and QR codes (49%), the survey found.

The top obstacle is a lack of strategy cited by 37% of the businesses, followed by a lack of resources and staff at 22%, and “not appropriate for our business” at 19%.

Mobile marketing budgets remain a small fraction of overall interactive budgets, with 54% of businesses allocating 5% or less to mobile programs. Nearly a quarter of businesses reported less than 1% allocated to mobile. A lack of funding was cited by 12% of respondents as the obstacle in executing mobile programs. On the positive side, 55% report increased budgets over the past year.

“I don’t think that the market is really fundamentally sure what they want to do with mobile marketing and that’s been the case with mobile for a long time,” Kara Trivunovic, vice president of agency services at StrongMail, said. “The proliferation of smart phones and devices has forced marketers to look at it from the standpoint of rendering an engagement. The flip side is, what do you want to do with that as a marketing or communication channel and that’s where marketers are getting stuck. They are not sure how consumers will feel about it and what’s the measurement of success.”

Even so, 59% of respondents believe that a mobile program could help them increase sales, 52% said it could improve customer service while nearly 50% of respondents reported that a strong mobile program would increase brand awareness. Forty-five percent said the programs could help acquire new customers.

While marketers are integrating mobile into various components of their campaigns, this survey focused on the state of integrating mobile into email programs.

Some 43% of businesses have achieved some level of integration between their email marketing and mobile marketing programs, but with mobile landing pages (32%), mobile number capture at email sign-up (25%) and mobile optimized templates (22%) being the top areas of focus.

Only 27% are running cross-channel, lifecycle marketing programs that include mobile messaging. Similarly, only 29% have used mobile response data to optimize offers in email or other channels.

Methodology: The global survey was conducted in April 2012 with more than 800 business leaders.

What are you most excited about in Mobile

Good video interviews from Rob Woodbridge and some of the more forward thinking marketers in mobile. Top themes that emerged form the interview:

  1. People still excited about SMS. Many retailers have realized that even though it’s been around for a while, it’s been underutilized.
  2. The lessening of fragmentation in the market will inevitably create more opportunities. This applies to everything form devices to carrier interoperability.
  3. Latin America (LATAM) is a key opportunity and also a key challenge, both from a technical and best practices perspective.
  4. MMS. People seem exited about it, but it’s still a cloudy topic in need of more clarity

Some themes we were surprised didn’t emerge:

  1. Voice and gesture as a means of communication across all devices.
  2. Mobile transactions, e.g., Square
  3. All-mobile social networks
  4. Mobile gaming. Which has overtaken the traditional gaming consoles and appeals to a broad range of demographics.

Watch video

Adobe releases Wallaby—a new drag-and-drop tool for developers that converts Flash files into HTML5.

from Amy Gahran, Special to CNN March 14, 2011 5:59 p.m. EDT | Filed under: Mobile

(CNN) — For decades — dating back to the 1980s — Apple and Adobe Systems have had a deeply troubled relationship. The most recent phase of their ongoing struggle has been over whether Flash (Adobe’s hugely popular proprietary format for adding animation, video, and interactivity to web pages) would run on Apple mobile devices.

Apple has always resisted putting Flash on the iPhone, because Flash has performed notoriously poorly on Macintosh computers.

But these days internet access is swiftly going mobile, and Apple’s iPhone holds the most interactivity- and video-hungry portion of the smartphone market.

Apple does offer a mobile app that re-encodes YouTube Flash videos to play on the iPhone, but in general Flash elements won’t play on Apple mobile devices. So Adobe has been trying hard to get Apple to support Flash on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

It looks like Adobe has finally lost this battle.

Last week Adobe Systems released Wallaby — an experimental new drag-and-drop tool for developers that converts Flash files into HTML5.

HTML5 is an emerging web standard that can work with the fully featured browsers available on most mobile devices, including the iPhone and iPad. It allows developers to build mobile web pages that are much more interactive and multimedia-rich. (Technically, it’s now called just HTML, but most people are still saying “HTML5″ to refer to the new capabilities.)

Also, HTML5 can be used to build mobile apps that work offline. As CNN Money recently explained, HTML5 web apps “can still function in areas with no connection. Gamers, for instance, can continue playing uninterrupted even if their device loses its signal.”

In January, The New York Times reported that many online content services, including Vimeo and Flickr, are experimenting with using HTML5 to deliver video and other rich media, probably driven in part by Apple’s lack of mobile support for Flash.

The Washington Post reports that Wallaby (a program that runs on the Adobe AIR platform, which does work with Apple’s iOS mobile operating system) “was tested with iOS 4.2. The only supported Webkit browsers at this time are Chrome and Safari on OSX, Windows and iOS.”

What does this mean for iPhone users?

If Wallaby becomes popular with developers, then many websites that use Flash to present interactive features or multimedia content — anything from videos to games to simulations and more — may suddenly start working right on the iPhone and iPad. So iPhone and iPad users will encounter fewer of those annoying blank holes on web pages where multimedia is supposed to appear.

But in the big picture, if most internet access goes mobile (as Gartner predicted will happen by 2013), then there might be less and less reason for web developers to use Flash. It could be that HTML5 might become the norm, and Flash might fade into the mists of tech history.

Daniel Eran Dilger predicted Adobe’s move to accommodate HTML5 almost a year ago, in his brilliant mock-biblical chronicle of the history of Adobe vs. Apple, an amazingly entertaining read.

Dilger wrote: “…And Adobe saw four horsemen of the apocalypse ascending from the sea, the rider of the white horse was Steve Jobs and he was bent on conquest. And a second horse, red, was given to iPhone to take away market share from smartphones, and to cause phone makers to wage war and to fall upon their own swords.

“And a third horse, black, was carrying the scales of the iPod touch, and it measured out music playback from iTunes and sold many apps and starved other mobile platforms of mobile application demand. And fourth horse, pale, had a rider named iPad, which pundits called Death. And it caused famine for tablets and plague for slates and killed with a sword. And none of the horsemen used Flash.

“And Adobe frightfully woke from its vision of terrors, and realized that its days of monopolizing the web with Flash content were over.

“…And then Adobe began building HTML5 development tools, and it charged reasonable prices and built cross-platform products and the people rejoiced and Adobe’s death was spared and it lived comfortably for many days next to Apple.

“And Steve Jobs said thank you and Adobe said no, thank you. And they all lived happily ever after.”

MMA’s top 10 trends to watch in 2011

The Mobile Marketing Association today published its top ten mobile marketing trends to watch in 2011, and even though they’re aimed at the Asia Pacific region, they outline similar trends on a global scale.

The MMA predicts the global mobile advertising market is expected to grow to $13 to $14 billion in 2011, with Asia Pacific expected to bring in the majority of this revenue followed by North America and Europe.

“Recent industry reports from InMobi and Synovate have revealed that consumers are showing a greater inclination towards receiving mobile advertising and marketing messages,”said Rohit Dadwal, Managing Director, MMA Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.  ”As the market continues to grow, we hope to continue to provide insights that we believe should to be on the radar screen of every organisation when deciding on their mobile spend for the region.”

Here’s the MMA’s top 10 trends to watch in 2011:

1.  Personalization and privacy will increase effectiveness and credibility of the mobile media as a marketing channel: As mobile technology continues to evolve, mobile marketing messages will become increasingly personalised / relevant. Additionally, the adoption of transparent, permission-based marketing along with the introduction of regulations and applications for blocking unwanted content will help overcome the perception that mobile advertising is nothing but spam. Mobile will be the only truly conversational and measurable medium that can lead to an actual, real-time increase in business-to-consumer transactions.

2.  Over the top services will drive data usage – On-deck operator ad revenues will be overshadowed by over the top application-based value-added services revenues. These services will help create mobile inventory and enable greater mobile ad spend. Operators should take a step back from establishing their own app stores and concentrate on enabling more converged devices like tablets. Telecom service providers will be forced to review their publishing business investments and plans.

3.  Free SMS/free video/free phone calls will be available across devices – Applications like WhatsApp and Viber are already allowing free SMS and calls from mobile devices. More such applications will be entering the market making these basic mobile features available free of cost across devices. We will also keep seeing an increase in mobile video consumption. The introduction of new ad units, including interactive and partial screen, will subsidize free content.

4.  The re-birth of Windows 7 mobile – The new and relatively strict hardware specifications introduced by Microsoft are geared towards providing a universal user experience much like Research In Motion (RIM) and Apple. Based on prior experience with the availability of too many phones variants, Microsoft is focused on restricting the use of its new operating system by phones that are not compatible. The re-birth of the Windows 7 mobile will further fuel the growth of mobile Internet and advertising.

5. New winner in the HTML5 vs Apps war – A lot has been said about how apps are expected to peak in 2013 and have already shown signs of slowing down. Though the new HTML offers great opportunities, apps and app stores continue to rule mobile content. The availability of basic functions of an app even without an active or stable data connection combined with the high level of usability and engagement offered by app stores make it a much more appealing option for customers. However, the fact that apps are device specific and limit penetration offers opportunities for experimentation that might lead to a decline in their popularity over the coming years.

6.  Location-Based Services (LBS) + Augmented Reality (AR) will be the leading integrated mobile technology in the market – The proliferation of GPS phones with digital compasses has already given rise to a series of location-based AR software platforms and applications. The combination of AR with LBS allows for graphic content related to the position of the user to be overlaid in real-time onto camera images taken by the phone. This makes for one of the most intuitive user interface currently available on mobile and also makes the consumption of location-based information a lot more fun. Such specific targeting will not only fuel ad spend but also transactions.

7.  Mobile micropayments will allow customers to pay from their ‘electronic wallets’ rather than ATM cards – The electronic payment industry is growing rapidly and provides significant opportunities for all electronic payment channels including those on mobile platforms. In developing countries, mobile banking services can address a service gap that is critical to their development. The key advantage of the introduction of mobile payment will be quick transactions. There are no credit card readers, no paper slips and more security than written forms. It will be like an electronic wallet that a customer will always have access to and will provide them with relevant purchase opportunities while they’re on-the-go.

8.  The re-emergence of mobile blogging – As mobile phones become more sophisticated and feature-rich, they are increasingly being used as a replacement for computers. With the introduction and adoption of tablet devices, the consumers now have greater speed, connectivity and battery life in their mobile devices. Several writers/bloggers are already using these devices to pen down their thoughts. With processing power that allows for editing and upload of content in various formats, these mobile devices are fast becoming the preferred travel gadget for professionals and have created opportunities for the development of a whole new set of user applications.

9.  Continued proliferation of smartphones and mobile Internet advertising – It is expected that by 2011 over 85% of handsets shipped globally will have browser capabilities. The relatively large growth in smartphones combined with their superior user interface will continue to encourage more people to access conventional websites on their mobile handsets. Business-to-consumer applications can be delivered using conventional Web tools as well as Web adaptation tools. As smartphone penetration increases, more users will possess the technology to view richer content on their mobile devices making the medium extremely useful for marketers.

10.  Mobiles will jump onto the 3D bandwagon – 3D technology is being incorporated in any and every gadget available in the market today. Mobile manufacturers have also experimented with the technology and Spice Mobility in India has already introduced a phone with 3D capabilities. Manufacturers still have a long way to go in terms of creating a sophisticated 3D mobile device but the market will see a lot more experimentation in 3D phones in the coming year. The technology will lead to the development of new content and advertising avenues.

Adobe Mobile Experience Survey: What Users Want from Media, Finance, Travel & Shopping

HTML5 vs. Apple’s App Store, iPhone vs. Android (and other burning questions)

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster played 12 questions with Apple’s future and touched on a few key issues ranging from apps vs. HTML5, the enterprise plan and future smartphone competition.

We’re not going into all 12 questions—Munster is upbeat on Apple’s business; there are plenty of iPhone and iPad components and the campus extension is progressing well—but here are a few of the more notable items addressed.

What’s the impact on Apple’s iPhone launch on Verizon? Munster said that Apple’s move to Verizon will give Android significant competition. In other words, Munster argues that we’ll see what Android is made of. Munster said:

Currently, Android phones outsell iPhones in the US, but we believe when Verizon gets the iPhone that trend could be reversed. As an example, in countries where the iPhone is available on multiple carriers and competes with Android, we see the iPhone outselling Android. The greatest factor in the success of Android has been Verizon. Customers are loyal to their carrier, and once Verizon gets the iPhone, we believe Android’s success in the US will be tested.

My take: Munster is on target here. Android has benefited from all of Verizon’s marketing attention. As a result, Android and iPhone have walked on two different sides of the wireless street. When the iPhone hits Verizon there will be pent up demand.

Will HTML5 hurt the App Store? Munster said:

While HTML5 and other rich internet technologies will continue to improve, we do not expect web apps to approach the usability of native apps for several years. And by the time web apps are equal in function to native apps, this early stage of the smartphone wars in which the app catalog is essential, will be over. In other words, we do not see web apps as a threat to Apple’s competitive advantage in smartphones: its App Store.

My take: It’s far too early to declare the HTML5 vs. app fight. I’d argue that apps are the product of poor browsers and wireless bandwidth constraints. As 4G ramps and browsers improve, Web apps will look better.

Will Apple play the cloud game? Munster argued that consumers will want to access their content on any device without syncing. That’s a potential opportunity for Apple. “We expect that Apple will roll out some sort of cloud-bases content storage service, perhaps connected to its MobileMe service, by the end of 2011,” said Munster.

My take: This projection is a no brainer.

How enterprise focused is Apple?
Apple is facing a massive tablet market—44.2 million tablets in calendar 2011 and 70.7 million in 2012—and business will tag along. Apple has positioned itself to “to fully go after the enterprise opportunity in the mobile space.” Munster said:

We expect the iPad, for example, to be widely deployed in the sales, hospitality, health care, banking, and manufacturing segments over the next several years. Moreover, we believe Apple is expanding its enterprise sales force to help generate and meet rising demand in the enterprise space.

My take: The iPad and iPhone are quickly becoming enterprise juggernauts. All Apple has to do is become a little more serious about it. The wild card is whether iPad and iPhone will pull the Mac into the enterprise.