Company: UNC School of Media and Journalism
Contact: Gary Kayye, Adjunct Professor
What WAS life like before we all were engaged almost 24/7 with our smartphones?
Entrepreneur’s staff writer, Laura Entis’ column “Life with Smarphones” suggests that while the devices have only been around for a decade, they already have so fundamentally infiltrated our day-to-day that for many of us, life can be broken down into two distinct eras: before and after the advent of the smartphone.
That’s a reasonable takeaway from a recent Gallup poll of nearly 16,000 U.S. smartphone users which found that nearly half of respondents (46 percent) agreed with the statement, “I can’t imagine my life without a smartphone.”
According to the PewResearchCenter.org, a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world regarding social science research, mobile access shifts social media use and other online activities.
The growing ubiquity of cell phones, especially the rise of smartphones, has made social networking just a finger tap away. Fully 40% of cell phone owners use a social networking site on their phone, and 28% do so on a typical day.
Additionally, 91% of teens go online from mobile devices at least occasionally, and 94% of these mobile teens go online daily or more often, compared with 68% of teens who do not use mobile devices to go online.
According to the Adobe 2013 Mobile Consumer Survey, accessing social media is the number one mobile activity today. “People still predominantly use their mobile devices to gain information, including social. Of those surveyed,71% reported using their mobile device to access social media.” People check social networks morning, noon, and night. Literally. It’s the first thing they check when they wake up in the morning. Then they check it again during their lunch breaks. Then, finally, during prime time TV viewing hours, social media activity spikes again.
Fastest growing trend: Mobile users
Gary Kayye, Adjunct Professor with University of North Carolina, teaching New Media Technologies, agrees. In a phone interview, Kayye explains that one of the largest and fastest growing trends in social media is how users are accessing the information.
“People generally only have about 3 hours at a computer. But they have 14-16 hours on a phone. You’ll have a better chance of them seeing your content on their phones. Content that is designed for mobile users, optimized for that format, is the key. If they can’t access your content, you’re defeating the purpose of being engaged with social media,” Kayye advises.
In those 14-16 hours that users are connected with their Smartphone technology, they may be in transit to or from work, waiting for kids at lessons or some other social activity where their phones are never far from reach. “When you optimize for mobile access, you’ll get more traction and ultimately have more time to get their attention,” Kayye agrees.
Integrated marketing approach: New media + traditional
Kayye addresses tracking how content is read through his course in New Media Technologies. According to Kayye, trends show that in July of this year, 43% of indexed search came from mobile access. Just three short months later and that number has risen to 57%. “More and more people are getting their content off mobile devices. That’s why Facebook has added an indexed search to their site. ”
While there are numerous mobile-specific tools and apps, most companies and most industries do not embrace this phenomenon as significantly as Kayye feels they should. Case in point – a recent example Kayye witnessed on Twitter. “The company used a watermarked Getty Image in their promoted tweet,” Kayye explains. “It wasn’t a fully integrated social media campaign with the rest of their marketing. It would have never gone through with traditional marketing procedures. This was one person with the authority to do promoted tweets’.
Kayye advises if companies don’t have a strategy for social media or specifically a mobile strategy, or an exclusive mobile opportunity, their content publishing may be missing the mark. “You have to look at your marketing, advertising and content strategy. Then, take my advice and make sure that everything you have, your content, is mobile friendly.
Mobile exclusive apps such as ello, Tinder and Buzzfeed have developed mobile-specific platforms and Kayye says there’s a clear trends towards simple user interfaces, simple searches.
“As technology develops, the next step will be integrating artificial intelligence answering “if…then” statements where relevant push content could be sent to users IF they meet the right criteria. “Location based content, combined with artificial intelligence and content delivery – all crucial aspects to content where its relevant, when it’s relevant,” Kayye explains.
And, one final thought on content designed for the mobile user…
Social media is the phenomenon of the new Millenium. A huge part of the social media shift happens right in the hands of those most engaged – on smartphones and those numbers are increasing at an almost exponential rate year over year. As technology further enhances what capabilities smartphones bring to the table, it’s almost a given fact that if you don’t adopt a mobile strategy, you may be left in the wake of the social media revolution, passing you by.
Lessons for others:
- Desktop publishing is “old school” and should be replaced with mobile access.
- Mobile access continues to rise annually – you can ride the wave or, be left behind in the wake.
- Content delivered when its relevant and where its relevant – much like digital signage today – is the next big technology push accommodating mobile users.
- Optimized mobile access content is king – resized, reshaped and replaced content made for mobile users is a smart strategy for smartphones.
Submitted by: ASeymour, University of Waterloo
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