- Consumers are more likely to unlock their smartphones without having a specific app in mind, giving mobile carriers a big opportunity to get their attention with snackable mobile content, per a survey that researcher Phoenix Marketing and mobile ad firm Mobile Posse provided to Mobile Marketer. These "appnostic" tendencies are common among 88% of consumers who unlock their phones while they're waiting to do something else.
- The percentage of appnostic mobile users grew to 49% last year from 37% in 2016, a trend driven by unlimited data plans. Consumers with unlimited data plans are 32% more likely to agree that they use their phones to "kill time," the survey found.
- Two out of three consumers said they want better mobile content discovery when they open their phones. Generation Z is driving the trend, with 69% of people ages 18 to 24 saying they were "very interested" in improved ways to find mobile content. Only 11% of mobile users said they have a specific app in mind most of the time when they unlock their smartphones, making them an app-centric minority.
The portability of mobile devices has opened an always-on media channel to reach consumers, especially as more people sign up for unlimited data plans. Wireless carriers and phone makers can take advantage of this trend by improving the content-discovery process for mobile users amid the growing trend of appnostic behavior. The trend is especially prominent among younger mobile users, including media junkies — the 41% of consumers who use multiple media apps more the 10 time a day — that are a key customer segment.
Improved content discovery was the second-most requested feature that would make smartphones easier to use after visual voicemail, the survey found. Consumers want easier access to weather, local news, national news, trending stories and online shopping deals, among other categories of information. Almost three-quarters (72%) of consumers want information from either their favorite sources or leading content providers instead of a broader range of sources. More than two-thirds (68%) of survey respondents said they want content recommendations based on their past searches or reading habits, while the remaining group said they prefer content suggestions based on what's popular in their area or nationwide.
Wireless companies like AT&T and Verizon have invested heavily in media in the past few years, but consumers are more likely to seek a broader range of content sources. Almost two-thirds of consumers (61%) said they don't prioritize content that their carrier owns. Among individual subscriber groups, 42% of AT&T users want the company to prioritize content from its media properties such as Turner, CNN and HBO. About one-third (34%) of Verizon subscribers want the company to showcase content from its media companies, such as Yahoo!, Huffington Post and AOL.
In developing content for mobile platforms, carriers need to consider that the median length of a mobile session is 28 seconds long, and mobile users unlock their phones more than 50 times a day. That means consumers want "snackable" content, with 41% of survey respondents preferring an experience that 15 to 30 seconds long and 26% asking for 30 to 90 seconds. "With all the investment and focus on the streaming video marketplace, carriers shouldn't overlook the opportunity that snackable content creates in simplifying subscribers' lives," the report said.
When it comes to notifying consumers about content, appnostic mobile users aren't swayed by push notifications. Only one-third (32%) of survey respondent said push notifications were their first choice among four content discovery options. Consumers tended to prefer the "minus screen" that combines personalized content and recent apps and is one swipe left from the home screen; the "plus screen" that's fully dedicated to personalized content one swipe right from the home screen, and a "smart agent" that appears after unlocking the phone when relevant content is available, the survey found.
The report comes as smartphone makers are introducing new features to make mobile devices easier to use. Apple, whose Worldwide Developer Conference starts on June 3, is set to roll out its next mobile operating system with updates to its home screen, Bloomberg News reported. Samsung's latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S10, also added homepage customization features to help people improve usability.