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Why Mobile Is the Future of Media

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Mr. Spock

It's been a month since you made your New Year's resolutions, so it's time to 'fess up: How are you doing? Did you stick to your diet? Are your finances in order? Been hitting the gym more than ever? Wait, what? You haven't?! Don't worry - we aren't judging. Especially since four out of five people will eventually break their New Year's resolution, with a third of people not even making it through January. The problem a lot of people face is that resolutions are a long-term project and therefore the results aren't immediate. And in a world of instant gratification, that can be incredibly frustrating.

What plenty of digital natives and early adopters are discovering is that the key to improving your health and fitness, meeting your financial goals, and getting organized is actually right in front you. We're not talking about the Star Trekky home trackers that debuted at this year's CES. We're talking about a device that's in the palm of your hand. Now more than ever, people are relying on their phones to track and manage their lives as assistants, fitness trainers, and accountants. All of that personal guidance we thought was only for celebrities and the very wealthy is now accessible to anyone with a smartphone. What makes it even more addictive: the feedback loop. With most of these mobile tools, we are the media – and we're endlessly fascinated with ourselves.

To explore just how much and how consumers rely on their mobile devices and how advertisers can make the most of that, Say Media and comScore conducted a new in-depth qualitative and quantitative research study that reveals exactly how consumers are really using these devices. Through a survey of more than 1,200 mobile users, the results show that consumers are increasingly using their mobile phones as a personal assistant, as a fitness trainer - and as a life coach. Here's how we're using our mobile devices for our physical, financial, and psychological well-being:

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Your Phone Is Your New Personal Trainer

Whether you want to go from the couch to a 5K, track the food you're eating, record your exercise, see how well you're sleeping at night, or share your data with others as a motivational tool, there's an app for that. And if you're not already using your phone to do those things, you probably won't be surprised to hear that "the kids" definitely are. In fact, during the past six months, 62 percent of 18-24 year olds used their phone to record exercise. The biggest surprise? Men are actually more likely to track their exercise, with 20 percent tracking weekly and 43 percent doing it in the last six months.

Your Finance Coach

Who needs complicated financial software when our mobile phones do such a good job of keeping track of our finances? And it's not just about the big picture. There are apps that track day-to-day spending and make sure anyone who wants to stays on top of all of the latest business and economic news. Though 18-24 year olds are the most likely to use or have used a financial tracking app, this is one case where the margin of difference with other age groups is smaller than some other mobile behaviors. Eighteen percent of all smartphone owners engage in financial tracking weekly or more often while 42 percent have done this in the past six months. Men are more likely to do this than women (23 percent versus 13 percent weekly) and they're also more likely to use their phones to catch up on the latest financial news (35 percent versus 11 percent).

… And Your Personal Assistant

Who hasn't dreamed of having a personal assistant? Someone to help you run errands, stay organized, and keep you on time... a friend you basically pay to hangout with you and make sure you don't screw up. Since most of us consider our phones our friends (sorry, but it's true; two-thirds of smartphone users actually feel anxious when they leave home without their device), why not have them also be our assistant? Whether we're taking notes, making lists, keeping our contacts up-to-date, looking up recipes, sending email, making reservations, or finding a fun place to go, we rely on our phones to help us more than ever before.

So back to those resolutions… we're only 1/12th of the way through the year. You've got "everyone" you could need to help right in your pocket. Now all you have to is download the app and "ask" for their help. We think "they'll" be happy to oblige. And for marketers, you've got the opportunity to develop services that align and extend a brand in a way that provides power and utility to your audiences – especially now that you know where your customers are, and what they're really doing with their phones.

See more key findings and download the results of our complete mobile study here.

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