Today Apple is expected to unveil its new Apple Watch (finally), but six months ago it wasn’t clear to everyone why Apple announced their newest product so early. So that same day in September I wrote this blog post about why Apple might have announced their newest product so far in advance, from a marketing strategist’s perspective.
Today consumers own more devices than ever before, and the greatest growth comes from digital devices, many of which didn’t even exist a few years ago. If fact, according to Nielsen’s recent Digital Consumer Report (full disclosure: I helped research and create this report) not only do the majority of Americans now own smartphones, but during 2013 time spent accessing the internet using smartphone apps (34 hours per person on average) surpassed time spent surfing the web on computers (27 hours on average). Whether consumers using the devices to access media or connect with one another, advertisers and marketers must follow consumer’s eyeballs as they jump across multiple screens and platforms.
In 2012 smartphones became the majority of mobile handsets in the U.S. for the first time, keeping hundreds of millions of Americans constantly connected to the mobile web and increasingly using apps. This was a change many had anticipated, including yours truly who wrote about best practices for the mobile web way back in the first month of this blog circa 2009, naive to the changes smartphone apps would have on consumer’s daily activities. As far as predictions go I missed the mark a bit, though hardly as far off as Steve Balmer. It’s another example of how it’s hard predict how consumers will embrace and use technology until it’s in their hands.
Back in 2009 I was just another early adopter hoping on the iPhone’s bandwagon, and like many early adopters in Roger’s diffusion of innovation model I found new ways to make my smartphone fit my internet enabled lifestyle; none of which would pursued my parents to buy smartphones of their own. But it was clear which way the wind was blowing in digital: the future would be increasingly high-speed on mobile, and smartphones would reshape how we use the internet.
We can use this same approach – measuring the trends in mobile – to anticipate what’s next in the market. Today smartphones make up nearly two-thirds of mobile phone owners (65%) in the U.S., putting these devices in the “late majority” phase of adoption. That means the exponential growth we’ve seen in mobile is likely to begin tappering for smartphone makers, though providing more opportunities for publishers and marketers alike in the years to come.
To help tell the story of how the smartphone market has reshaped mobile and visualize the current state-of-mobile, I built an infographic (see below). First a disclosure: I created the infographic using publicly posted data published an industry-expert source (Nielsen) who are also my employer, though the ideas shared on this blog are my own (see my policy page for full disclosure): Continue reading Late Majority: How Smartphones Matured the Mobile Market→
The media universe is constantly expanding, so as consumers adopt more devices and gadgets their usage of how they watch, shop, and connect continues to evolve; today the media universe revolves around the consumer. As the media landscape changes, PRs, Advertisers, and Marketers must navigate this new media universe, understanding not just all the gadgets consumers own, but also how they use media across devices to form their own behaviors.
Working with Nielsen’s data to provide insights into cross-platform media usage, I helped design the 2012 Consumer Usage Report from concept through completion, including the above inforgraphic meant to help navigate the media universe just in time for CES in January 2013. Using the common marketing metaphor of the “universe”, meaning all people in the target audience, this visualization provides a snapshot overview of the US media market. Visualizing the media universe as a solar system of planets (devices) which revolve around the sun (consumers), this infographic maps consumer ownership of digital devices (computers, mobile, tablets, etc) and devices connected to the TV (cable/satellite, game consoles, etc). Pulling these devices together is gravity, illustrated by how are consumers spending their media time, and some may be surprised that the overwhelming majority of time spent (150+ hours per month) is watching traditional and time-shifted TV.
At the same time consumers’ media habits are rapidly changing, and the media universe continues to expand to incorporare new devices akin to a technological big bang. During 2012 smartphones became the majority of mobile users in the US for the first time, and nearly 1 in 5 households now owns a tablet computer. Social media usage continues to grow, and while many more consumers are using it on the go most still connect to social networks using their home computers. And for cord-cutters like me who get much of their viewing through online stream sites, it may be surprising to learn only 4% of households own IPTV sets, but with 56% of homes using video game consoles it seems likely at least a few are watching video on Netflix and Hulu on their TVs as well.
I never thought it could happen to me, but last year I had an iPhone stolen out of my own hands while riding the subway late one summer night. Even though I had read news stories and blog posts before about how the theft of smartphones and iPads was becoming more common while riding public transportation, I thought I was safe until I became another victim.
My first instinct was to share my experience through social media, where I learned that a few more of my friends had also had their phones stolen riding the subway. A little further research led me to see the problem was growing across the US, and that many more shared my frustration being unable to recover my handset, even using the Find My iPhone feature. Most recently, in acknowledgment of the growing theft problem the FCC proposed changes to how the carriers manage reported thefts, hoping to help consumers avoid the hefty costs often associated when their stolen phones.
In its short history, Instagram has become very popular is crowded market of competing mobile photo apps, or at least has become my favorite among them since I started using it in October 2010. For those not already familiar with this iPhone app, Instagram has been installed by over 1 million users who use the app to snap pics, apply creative filters to add visual interest, and easily share their photos across multiple social networks (ie Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare). Users can follow photos by their friends using a timeline inside the app, which doesn’t have a web interface but rather exists as a social network of sorts confined within the app itself (and accessible to services using its API).
Of course the concept behind Instagram isn’t new; long before this app I’ve been been sharing mobile photos on TwitPic, showcasing my photography on Tumblr, and sharing thousands of pictures on Facebook, Flickr, and many other photo sites. Although it’s not immediately apparent how useful the service might be as a branding or communications tool, it has caught on in popularity from a consumer-generated media standpoint. At least in my own experience Instagram offers immediate gratification and feedback that makes it addictive, with the added value of offering perspectives across a variety of social networking sites.
Outside of Instagram, here’s a few more ways to measure the impact of mobile on photo sharing:
The iPhone is the most popular camera on Flickr overall, and I’ve uploaded more than 5% of my 8194 photos on Flickr from pictures taken using my iPhone camera.
Photos are the most used app on Facebook, and they’re rumored to be working on a mobile photo app
At least 2 million photos are posted to Twitter each day on average, and doubtlessly more buzz comes from image driven Tumblr posts and photoblogs
Most recently with the announcement of Twitter’s new photo sharing functions, as well as their deeper integration with Apple products, photography continues its push into mobile platforms and remains a key driving force behind social media into the foreseeable future.
Since Foursquare was created in March 2009 its social network which connects people and places into an addictive public game has motivated millions to continue checking-in. Whether your friends use the social network to unlock badges for brands and special events, compete on the leaderboard, and of course become “the mayor” of their favorite venues. Location-based social networks like Foursquare have created new opportunities for friends to connect IRL (or allegedly to stalk each other), while opening individuals to new connections more like they do online.
Of course Foursquare was hardly the first location-based social media; by the time I signed-up in March 2009 I had already been checking-in for nearly a year, using networks like Brightkite and Loopt. Indeed the founders of Foursquare were well ahead of the competition, having set up the SMS-based location network Dodgeball years earlier which had been bought by Google, only to revisit their idea with smartphone technology. By mixing game elements and unlockable rewards, not to mention the right timing to take advantage of the burgeoning social media scene, Foursquare has created a unique application that has proved popular by 2010 and beyond.
In the process of the gameplay and deals that attract users and brands to use the service, one of the byproduct of using Foursquare is the data that’s created about individuals who use the service. Here’s some perspective on how I’ve used Foursquare over the past 2 years:
I was the 3,820th user to register on Foursquare, making me an early adopter of the location-based network that now tops 8 million members.
My first check-in was on March 17, 2009 at Breadsoda in Washington D.C., and have checked-in another 669 days since
In my first two years I’ve checked-in over 3000 times (3241 as of April 15, 2011) at 723 different venues.
I’m currently mayor of 7 venues, and have earned as many as 13 mayorship at any one time, earning me the Supermayor badge
So far I’ve unlocked 61 badges so far: 38 official Foursquare badges, and 23 more branded by their promoted partners
Of course Foursquare is much more than a means to broadcast your location, although the network has that reputation since many early adopters (myself included) had their service configured to tweet their check-ins automatically. However I’ve found Foursquare is best experienced not just as social media, but as a tool to connect people with places. Their service aids the discovery of new places to visit by using the suggestions and tips of friends, and on several occasions has helped result in the social media serendipity that has connected me with new friends and enabled impromptu rendezvous with friends who check-in right around the corner.