The Carrier Cure: Turning Mobile “APPathy” into Opportunity Featured

Clock 10 months ago
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Wireless Carriers have long been eager to enter into the mobile advertising game. We’re continuing to see strategic decisions being made and billions of dollars being spent. Some carriers are investing to own the popular content used by subscribers and coveted by advertisers. Others are investing to build subscriber insights and advertising infrastructure to participate in the growing data management platform marketspace. Both methods are costly and time consuming to implement. However, there’s an enormous opportunity for carriers to disrupt the market immediately and become a major player in mobile ad revenue. The key to unlocking it comes with a better understanding of how consumers are interacting with their devices.

There is no question that people turn to their smartphones with increasing frequency in times of boredom. This mobile “APPathy”means that often, people are picking up their phones without any idea of what they want to do next. And while there is plenty of research into where people end up on their smartphones, there has been little to date on how they got there. What influences smartphone use when users have no particular task in mind? The groundbreaking “First Dibs” Opportunity Report focuses on what users see right after unlock, how they react thereafter, and what that means for carriers desperately seeking a foothold in the mobile ad space.

Carriers are in the unique position to reimagine and “own” what users see upon unlock. By providing a better first screen experience that predicts boredom and uses intelligence to provide engaging content at the right time, wireless carriers can improve user experience while raking in a much desired new revenue stream.

Today’s First Screen Experience is Flawed

Currently, there are only three possible “first screen experiences” that the smartphone user encounters at unlock. They either see the last app they engaged in; their home screen; or a new app that is engaged with through a push notification. The report shows that 38.3 percent of the time a session ends within three seconds. Even more startling, 54.3 percent of the time the first screen delivered offers no value to the user, as it is quickly dismissed. If smartphones were indeed “smart,” they would have more intelligence behind providing the user with what they’re looking for.

Killing Time Is a Top Activity on Smartphones

The majority of people - 70 percent to be exact - agree that they use their smartphone to kill time. Additionally, they estimate that almost half, 47 percent, of their unlocks occur without knowing what they want to do. The reality is, there are numerous times throughout the day when we are looking for something - anything - to engage us, whether we’re in an uber, waiting to pick up the kids in the carpool line, at the Starbucks counter, waiting to cross the street, or even on a boring conference call. Time and again mobile users encounter fleeting moments when they are looking for something to entertain them, providing a huge opportunity for mobile service providers to swoop in and save the day.

So Much So That Killing Time is Predictable

By analyzing usage on smartphones, carriers can use predictive analytics to determine when their users have no particular task in mind. Roughly 42 percent of mobile sessions exhibited qualities of “idle” use (defined as short, sporadic and non-task or social driven), the majority of which are followed by additional idle sessions. By predicting these spurts of boredom, wireless carriers can target users with relevant content at precisely the right time for optimal engagement.

Users Want a Better First Screen Experience

When asked about a better first screen experience, 46 percent of people expressed interest. Media junkies - those that frequent Facebook for content - and users with “fear of missing out” - those that often engage with push notifications - expressed higher levels of interest, at 72 and 68 percent, respectively. And what’s even more promising for carriers, is that when given a different first screen experience, 85 percent of users respond with positive sentiment.

A Better First Screen Experience is a Big Opportunity For Carriers

Mobile ad revenues have been on the rise and predictions show that it will continue to grow in size over the next several years. Google and Facebook continue to drive this growth in large numbers, with 2017 projections from eMarketer pegging the two giants for for a whopping 57 percent of all revenue. However, this still leaves a lot on the table for other players to grab in terms of significant revenue. The total addressable market for capturing and owning this better first screen experience would slot mobile carriers third in the mobile ad revenue game - just below the two aforementioned giants and above apps such as Yahoo!, Pandora, Twitter, Snapchat, and Amazon.

Wireless Carriers are In the Best Position to Own the First Screen

In summary, today’s first screen experience is not sufficient enough to address the growing trend of killing time, a better first screen is desired, and being able to capture it is a massive opportunity. So why are carriers in the best position to take advantage? For two key reasons:

Major Device Influence - Creating a better first screen experience requires being able to “own” what the user sees on unlock. Other apps are lost in the sea of icons that people have on their home screens - meanwhile carriers can preload a platform that delivers a premium content experience intelligently on unlock, at the most optimal time for each individual user.

Vast Subscriber Bases - Wireless carriers’ large customer base is what drives this opportunity as they directly engage with large numbers of subscribers.

Capitalizing on this opportunity could yield significant revenue for carriers all while providing a better user experience. Mobile service providers have nothing to lose by exploring this opportunity and everything to gain; carriers are currently seizing little to no share of the current ad market, creating a massive opportunity to provide subscribers a content experience they’ll love - combatting their mobile “APPathy” - while not only getting into the mobile ad revenue game, but carving a spot as a major player.

Greg Wester, SVP, Marketing & Business Development at Mobile Posse, is a 20+ year veteran of interactive marketing and advertising. He has held leadership roles in areas spanning the areas of business development, corporate strategy, campaign optimization, research, and advertising sales.Prior to Mobile Posse, Greg was COO at VoodooVox where he lead advertising sales and all sales, marketing and PR operating functions.Before VoodooVox, Greg was Founder and President of Soapbox Marketing, a consultancy that helped brands strategize, design, launch, and measure best-practice digital word-of-mouth campaigns. Greg was part of the Executive Leadership team at Organic Inc., as well as founder of the Internet Media consulting practice for The Yankee Group. At The Yankee Group, Greg specialized in advising Fortune 500 clients on interactive marketing and advertising. A one-time engineer, Greg started his career building and testing interactive services at GTE Research Labs.


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