Seems like every year we hear this year is going to be the year of mobile. Well, it’s finally arrived.
One of the biggest shifts since the Internet became part of our lives occurred in 2014. In June, at the State of the Internet Webinar, comScore presented data indicating mobile users would surpass desktop users in 2014. And they were right. Mobile platforms – smartphones and tablets – now account for 60% of total digital media time spent, up from 50% a year ago.
In October 2014, comScore provided data to Internet Retailer that showed that 52% of the time consumers spent online occurred within smartphone and tablet apps. And that’s not just the majority of mobile time, that’s the majority of all digital time.
Does any of this matter to PR?
Take a look at what people are viewing on their mobile devices. If your immediate reaction is ‘games, of course’, think again. According to The Online Publishers Association, this is what they’re doing on their mobile devices:
- 99.5 percent access content/information
- 63.1 access the Internet
- 62.1 percent check email
- 49.2 percent listen to music
- 46 percent play games
- 41.7 percent download and use apps
- 15 percent make purchases
- 15 percent read a book
So what kind of content are they looking for in apps? It’s not just about social media, checking email, conducting a search or shopping. The Exact Target 2014 Mobile Behavior Report found that consumers use their mobile devices for connectivity and content.
iPhone users prefer spending time consuming media, with news apps, radio, photos, social networking, and weather as the highest-ranking categories, while Android users spent more time in search (Google) and email (Gmail).
Even though we’re hooked on our devices and apps, it would seem that there is much room for improvement. Many mobile brand experiences are lagging far behind.
The desire to be able to access content “any way I want” is the consumers’ most important criteria when rating a mobile brand experience.
54% of their respondents said that while mobile-optimized sites are more user-friendly, they’re lacking in content. Two-thirds of consumers (68%) expect a company they interact with to be seen as a technology leader.
So yes, this mobile tipping-point is important to PR. As more content gets consumed via mobile, everything we produce has to be optimized for mobile and easily accessible, when and where the user wants it.
If consumers consider brand content on social (or any other mobile app or site) to be boring and irrelevant, that’s a PR issue. If they can’t find it when they want it, that’s also a PR issue – it will affect the perception of the brand.
Consumers expect a brand to be seen as a technology leader – image is a PR issue. How is your brand performing on mobile? Have you checked how your brand image rates in this regard? Facebook is the number one mobile app. What does your Facebook content look like on mobile? How much engagement do you get from mobile? People expect to be able to find you when and where they want. How does your brand’s mobile content meet this need?
And don’t forget about the content being consumed on the mobile web. When they follow a link to a story, it’s likely to go to a mobile website. Is your online newsroom mobile-friendly and accessible? Is your content published on other major media sites? Paid distribution is now a part of the PR plan. Don’t faint at the notion of paid media being part of PR! We already pay for releases to be put on the wire and distributed to news sites. This is no different, it’s just more effective.