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Marketers must understand target demographic behavior: Study

Multitasking parents and mobile millennials, or young adults, are the most active mobile Internet users, comprising two-thirds of the mobile Internet user population as a whole, according to a study by Novarra.

In a study tracking mobile Internet usage, Novarra found that the best way to create a seamless user experience for the mobile Internet is to track behavior within the different segments of mobile users. Novarra divided up users based on lifestyle and age to understand how and why mobile Internet adoption is taking flight.

"Usage patterns around the globe are surprisingly similar," said Scott Cotter, senior director of marketing at Novarra, Itasca, IL.

"One important difference though is that in a market like the U.S., where it may take 12-18 months for the active user averages to reach a certain level of page views or sessions per month, in emerging or eastern European markets, it takes just a few months," he said.

"It is not that Americans are not as technically astute, but more likely a factor of internet availability and quality of service."

Novarra split up the mobile user population into five groups: business pro, multitasking parent, mobile millennial, connected kid and frugal fanatic.

The study found that most business professionals choose the BlackBerry or Palm handsets for their mobile needs such as email, Web browsing and news headlines.

The study from Novarra claims that business professionals are the heaviest users of mobile devices as they rely on them for all communication purposes, whether business or personal.

While this segment makes up a huge chunk of the mobile user population, their Internet usage still does not match that of the multitasking parent or mobile millennial.

The multitasking parent, on the other hand, prefers to search, shop and text via their mobile device, which is most regularly a Cookie or Chocolate handset.

The study found that multitasking parents rely on their mobile devices to stay in touch and stay organized, never leaving home without their phone. Novarra warns marketers to remember that multitasking parents are more tech-savvy than given credit.

"Two obvious factors leading to mobile Internet adoption are 3G network availability and more capable handsets with higher resolution displays, more powerful processors, touch screens and qwerty input," Mr. Cotter said. "Consumers now expect a good Internet experience."

Mobile millennials fall right in with multitasking parents when it comes to Internet usage as some of their favorite mobile features include text messaging, social networking, applications and Web browsing.

Millennials set the standard for consumers in the realm of technology and the study shows that this demographic is a coveted one for marketers, as they cannot be separated from their device.

Novarra classifies the connected kid as someone who has grown up in a world of technology. This demographic drives the growth of texting, social networking and online sharing of photos and videos.

Finally, the frugal fanatic looks for a device that covers the bare necessities.

While this demographic is not interested in an expensive data plan, they frequent free ringtone and wall paper sites more than any other demographic.

"Another important factor of mobile Internet adoption is the renewed focus on user experience by service providers using solutions like Novarra to provide faster speed and access to more rich content," Mr. Cotter said.

"In fact, it is not uncommon to see active users with 2.5G feature phones generate more Web data usage than what has been reported by some carriers for their 3G iPhone users," he said.