What is Mobile? -- Radha Subramanyam

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Cover image for  article: What is Mobile? -- Radha Subramanyam

There’s no question that people are passionate about using their smartphones and tablets. In just a few short years, mobile has transformed the landscape of how we manage our lives and spend our time. The TomiAhonen Almanac found that mobile users check their phone 150 times a day. Of course, people like me check their phones twice that amount of time.

Users aren’t the only fans of mobile devices. Advertisers have embraced mobile as much as consumers. Market research firm eMarketer estimates that global mobile ad spending increased 105% from 2012 to 2013 to $17.96 billion and is expected to rise another 75.1% this year. It’s easy to understand why marketers are excited. From a B2B advertiser perspective, mobile’s appeal is the ability to reach target consumers while they’re on the go and, theoretically, while they’re on their way to make a purchase.

Marketers are on the right track with their desire to assert their influence during the consumer journey when he or she is about to make a purchase decision. However, there seems to be some amount of confusion between a platform that is called mobile and true mobility. If advertisers really want to reach consumers on the go, they need to understand all of the media that touch consumers when they are out in the world.

USA TouchPoints data shows thatalmost two-thirds of the time users spend on mobile websites and apps is actually at home -- not out of home like advertisers assume. In contrast, that same data showed that two-thirds of radio consumption is outside of the home. If that’s not enough, can you guess the last activity 1 in every 2 people do right before they shop? That’s right, listen to the radio. There’s a compelling reason broadcast radio is considered to be the original mobile medium. There’s no better way to get their message to consumers right before the all-important point of purchase.

Another perceived advantage of mobile advertising is the ability to reach a large number of consumers. However, mobile is not in one concentrated place, but rather dispersed over multiple apps and sites. When Apple’s App Store began in July 2008, there were 800 apps. Now there are 1,200,000. There is not a single app or even type of app that dominates the average user’s time. App usage is spread out over gaming, social and messaging applications and entertainment, among other app types. So how does that translate for marketers looking for the most effective place to spend their advertising budget to reach the most consumers? It doesn’t.

With 245 million people listening every week, radio’s reach has expanded over the last decade. Nielsen estimates that on average each listener tunes in for 2 hours and 42 minutes per day -- far more than the time spent on mobile devices. Radio is indeed one of the few media not being disrupted in a mobile first universe because whether listening on a clock radio, car radio or smartphone, the consumer experience is equally good. A DJ speaking into your ear in your car or via your smartphone is like a friend making a recommendation to you.

Importantly, radio and music are native in the mobile-first universe, topping all categories when it came to greatest incremental gain in mobile-only unique visitors in comScore. When you put the best of radio, which is the scale, the connection with personalities, the closest advertising medium to word of mouth, and the ability to reach people on the go, tied with mobile follow-up, then you’re onto really powerful advertising. The more innovative and creative you are when combining these two forces, the better result for both you and the consumer.

Radha Subramanyam is Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing Research for ClearRadha Subramanyam Channel Media + Entertainment. She is a seasoned media and entertainment executive with a significant track record as a leader in media research and consumer insights. She is one of the few individuals in media who has worked in TV, digital, radio and social media. Her experience in these various media forms spans the programming, marketing and advertising sales aspects of the business. Radha can be reached at radhasubramanyam@clearchannel.com.

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