Get into the ‘mobile mindset’ to understand customer smartphone behavior

It’s up to marketers (and yours truly) to be able to explain to their boards why consumers behave in certain ways. And one of the areas marketers are increasingly expected to be able to understand is the way that consumers use smartphones to interact with brands. Nearly half of consumers buy using smartphones, yet they hate the experience, which tells us brands don’t truly understand what their customers are looking for in a mobile experience.

To find the answer to that challenge, we at Clicktale partnered with my colleagues Dr. Robert J. Meyer and Dr. Shiri Melumad from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania to conduct in-depth, data-driven research into human behavior on smartphones. The main conclusion from our research: when consumers have a smartphone in their hand, they are characterized by a rather distinct psychological “mobile mindset” — a safe-zone escapist world within which they seek solace, comfort and relaxation.

When consumers are in this mobile mindset, they don’t want education (science, facts and hard news); they want entertainment (pop culture, sport and games). The gap between the two types of content is so vast that consumers are 35% more likely to engage with something that’s entertaining, and sport related on their smartphones.

Consumers also don’t want long-form content like customer service; they want fast and functional content like clearance items and coupons, and as short a mobile journey as possible. And there are certain behaviors that differentiate smartphone users from their desktop counterparts — desktop users are 84% more likely to donate via a give-back program than smartphone users, and desktop users are up to 34% more likely to buy gifts for other people than smartphone users. And from a marketing perspective, when it comes to mailing lists, people are more inclined to sign up to mailing lists via a smartphone than a desktop.

This state of mind has serious implications for marketers. Our joint research highlights what these behavioral patterns are, how marketers can harness them, and what marketers need to do to improve digital experiences to ensure they deliver a better return.

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