Is mobile really becoming the first screen?

Is mobile really becoming the first screen?

Is mobile really becoming the first screen?

Research out today by UK mobile operator combo Weve claims mobile is rapidly becoming the first and most important screen. Maybe the question that isn’t being asked is: For what is mobile the most important? And beyond that, just what is the opt-in policy of Weve?

According to the research*, 46% of 18-34 year olds claim mobile is now their “first and most important screen”, providing Weve with sufficient evidence to claim that “mobile devices are now firmly established as competitors to conventional media channels in the UK”.

In fact, the PC screen is considered the most important screen, attracting 40% of total respondents, ahead of mobile devices (28%) and TV (27%).

Other interesting stats include over one-quarter of consumers turn to their mobile first to interact with online content, rising to 45% amongst 18-34 year olds, nearly one in 10 consumers turn to their mobile first to make online purchases, and 39% cite their mobile device as the screen they look at most often.

If the research had asked which screen would you get the best cinematic experience from, or which screen are you most likely to watch Strictly Come Dancing or next year’s Brazil World Cup, would the answer still be mobile? Of course mobile is the most looked at screen, as it is the only truly “mobile” screen that is on our person for an average of 16 hours per day.

So is mobile really the most important screen? It is certainly the most accessible compared to all other screens over an average day, and for this reason it is no doubt the first “thought-of” screen  because of its proximity and is always readily available, but whether that makes mobile the most important screen has to be dependent on the activity and user’s requirement.

Weve CEO David Sear says that the “over 32% of our 20-million, opted-in customer base are actively using their mobile as their first screen and most importantly going online and purchasing through their device. We're delivering broadcast-scale audiences, consumers who actively want to engage with companies and brands through their devices. In combination with our deep and broad insight into our customers, it gives Weve a unique opportunity to bring consumers and brands together in new ways".

Mobile will undoubtedly bring brands and consumers together, but its role in this process needs to always be placed in context. As a screen that people need quick and easy access to when required, then mobile is and always will be the first and only screen. But it’s also the first (and only) screen that the majority of people carry around with them on an hourly and daily and weekly and monthly basis.

Mobile marketing research

Weve also used the announcement to reveal some stats from a recent poll of Weve’s customer base to highlight “how this insight-led approach to mobile relationship-building is already paying dividends.”

Here’s what their customer poll discovered:

  • 68% of all consumers said that they receive just the right amount, or would like to receive, more messages, with the female demographic slightly more responsive to messaging than male.
  • Consumers are most interested in receiving messaging about are entertainment, food and drink, technology, travel, and health and beauty. With fashion, cars and finance following closely behind.
  • Consumers are most interested in money-off vouchers, special offers and brand/event campaigns, with 78% of women interested in receiving money-off vouchers and 60% happy to get special offers via text.
  • 61% of consumers feel texts based on their location are more relevant.
  • 55% of people have taken action as result of receiving a promotional message via text.
  • The top five consumer behaviours as a result of receiving a message are downloading an app, researching online, sharing information with family and friends, visiting a store and redeeming a voucher.
  • 15% of consumers have purchased a product or service as a result of receiving a promotional message.
  • 62% agreed that mobile messages are a good way to find out about brands and offers.
  • 58% agreed that they are an easy way to redeem coupons and offers as mobiles are always on hand.

But what is the opt-in process of Weve?

When one of the mobilesquared team received a message earlier in the year from their mobile provider that they had been opted in to receive marketing messages from third parties, we used the opportunity of Sears speaking at Internet World to ask him of Weve’s opt-in policy. He said Weve operated under strict opt-in guidelines and if a mobile user had been opted in there must have been a mistake.

On 17 October I received the following from EE:

Weve Opt In

The message clearly states that I have been opted in to receive third-party marketing messages. I do not have my contract to hand and cannot examine the fine print to see exactly what I’ve let myself in for by signing up 24 months. But the fact I have been opted in by default - from my perspective - sets the wrong precedent for mobile message marketing, which from our own research for clients (see here) is by far the most effective form of marketing and will be exponentially more effective than Facebook.

But only if the opt-in process is transparent and controlled by the consumer. Right now, that does not appear to be the case. ‘EE Recommends’ is part of the Weve initiative. And this raises the legitimacy of the 20 million opt-in figure from an opt-in purist's view; what is the actual number of people that have genuinely requested to be opted-in? And not opted in because they didn’t read all of the small print in their contract in the store when they had already spent 60 minute trying to upgrade their device and going over the same questions repeatedly with different people either face-to-face in the store or over the phone?

Given that mobile marketing is now into its second decade of activity, the area of opt-in remains as grey as the summertime sky in the UK.

*The research commissioned by Weve was based on a nationwide survey of 2,000 adults between the ages of 18-55+.

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