Mobile’s Role in a Consumer’s Media Day: Smartphones and Tablets Enable Seamless Digital Lives

Illuminating the different ways that smartphones and tablets are changing consumer behavior, the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence released “Mobile’s Role in the Consumer’s Media Day,” an in-depth research report that reveals how receptiveness to advertising and media consumption varies by device, time of day, and location.

Although we regularly talk about “mobile data” and “mobile media” and “the mobile internet,” it is vital to remember that the mobile audience is not monolithic. What device a person using, when they are using it, and where they happen to be all matter critically to their content preferences, usage patterns, and openness to advertising messages.

Mobile value propositions vary by device type:

  • Smartphones are mission-critical devices for life, with nearly 70% of smartphone users saying they “won’t leave home without it.”
  • By contrast, tablets are a media consumption hub, with nearly 70% of tablet users reporting that their tablet is an “entertainment device.”
  • Engagement on tablets surpasses engagement on smartphones. Across key dimensions – use/consumption, the receptivity and action related to advertising, and the activity of shopping – tablet users are more easily engaged.
  • Although smartphones are more likely than tablets to be used outside the home, there is a clear reliance on their smartphones across high-value activities at home as well, for example while reading print media and watching TV.

Mobile affects traditional media consumption in distinct ways. Two audiences are emerging – one that drives traditional media through mobile (so mobile complements or augments their traditional media usage); another that detracts (so mobile substitutes for or replaces traditional media).  Almost half of tablet owners say having a tablet has had an impact (positive OR negative) on the amount of time they spend reading magazines and newspapers.

From a location perspective, it’s vital to remember that ‘mobile’ does not mean ‘remote’. Nearly all smartphone and tablet users (91% and 97%, respectively) report using their device at home – the most widely used location for mobile data activities.

Time of day also makes a difference to consumer usage.  Leisure activities at home are when consumers say most likely to use mobile and also when they are most receptive to advertising – on both devices.  For those device owners who commute via public transit, that moment in the day is another key one in terms of advertising receptivity.