Teens' extensive use of mobile phones signal big change ahead for adults

Camille Bautista, Mashable.com, 3/14/13

It's a sight that's all too common, now: teenagers never looking up, glued to their cellphones

every hour of the day. Text messages may seem like the major culprit for this behavior, but a new report shows that one in four teens use cell phones as their device of choice when browsing the web, according to a study by Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project. Instead of using desktops or laptops, most rely on their phones to go online. The survey of teens found that 78% have a cellphone, with nearly half of those being smartphones -- compared to one in four young adults who are "cell-mostly" users; only 15% of adults rely solely on their phones. Mary Madden, senior researcher at Pew, explains: "Unlike many adults, teens aren't sitting in front of a desktop computer all day at work, so the different rhythms of daily life may be a factor influencing the different patterns of use...In many ways, teens represent the leading edge of mobile connectivity, and the patterns of their technology use often signal future changes in the adult population." The findings cut across the economic board. Out of those who have Internet access, teenagers in lower socio-economic groups are just as likely -- and sometimes even more likely -- to use cellphones as primary access points than teens in higher-income households. In general, smartphone ownership is up, as well, with 37% of American youth owning a smartphone compared to 23% in 2011.


Study: Tablets now get more web traffic than mobile phones

Tyler White, Adobe's Digital Marketing blog, 3/6/13

After ana­lyz­ing more than 100 bil­lion vis­its to 1000+ web­sites world-wide, Adobe Dig­i­tal Index has dis­cov­ered that global web­sites are now get­ting more traf­fic from tablets than smart­phones, 8% and 7% of monthly page views respec­tively. Pretty impres­sive for a device cat­e­gory that was intro­duced less than three years ago! So what does the rise of tablets mean for marketers? Con­sumers are try­ing out their tablets for the first time and it only takes one bad web­site expe­ri­ence for them to decide to go else­where. A smart­phone-opti­mized site is not the same as a tablet-opti­mized site. Mar­keters should keep in mind that con­sumers use their var­i­ous mobile devices dif­fer­ently. They might turn to their phone to stream music, but use their tablet to shop. When they opt for their tablet they aren't just price com­par­ing, they're pur­chas­ing. They aren't just watch­ing a video clip; they're explor­ing and engag­ing with con­tent. Google just announced it will lump tablet searches in with desk­top searches, but the lat­est tablets not only look like large smart­phones, they now [offer] the abil­ity to make phone calls. Mar­keters can't rely on screen size any­more to deter­mine and deliver the most appro­pri­ate expe­ri­ence. They'll need to pay atten­tion to con­nec­tion type (wifi vs cel­lu­lar), and refer­ral source along with form fac­tor to pri­or­i­tize which options to offer the user. Think about it. Why do you choose to use your tablet instead of your phone if you have both? What dif­fer­ent expec­ta­tions do you have? Now apply that to your customer's expe­ri­ence. 


Nonprofits race to get ahead of the explosion in small screens

Nicole Wallace, Chronicle of Philanthropy, 3/10/13

The rise of mobile is no longer an event looming on a distant horizon. It's here. For the last two years, smartphones have outsold desktop computers. In 2012 Americans read e-mail on their phones more frequently than on their computers. Mobile devices account for almost a quarter of all Web traffic -- and the share of traffic from smartphones and tablets is expected to overtake traffic from desktops sometime this year or next. Meanwhile, many charities are devising a game plan to adjust their fundraising and communications to handle the explosion of small screens. But Katya Andresen of Network for Good questions whether nonprofits have done enough. A survey of charities that use its online-fundraising services found that the share of traffic to those organizations' websites from smartphones and tablets ranged from 10-35%. "You may say, 'Oh, we're not doing mobile yet,' but unfortunately you may be, in that people are coming and trying to do things from their mobile device," Ms. Andresen says. "The train has sort of left the station, and we need to figure out what to do." Making the transition to mobile is a process, and nonprofit organizations shouldn't underestimate the time and effort it will take to link their new mobile solutions to existing systems, like their fundraising database, says Lisa Dabney, development director at the Atlanta Ballet. Last spring the ballet unveiled a new website designed to adapt automatically to devices of any type or size. But it's still difficult for someone using a smartphone to buy a ticket to a performance. The software that connects the site to the ballet's fundraising and ticketing system isn't mobile-friendly, something the organization expects to change when it upgrades to the next version of the software this summer.

Related stories:


Chicago theater uses rich media messaging to build a mobile database

Chantal Tode, MobileMarketer.com, 3/12/13

Chicago Shakespeare Theater used rich media messaging to send opted-in audience members exclusive video content on their mobile devices that could be shared on Twitter and Facebook, driving viral awareness of an upcoming production. More than 14% of opted-in users shared the rich content they received on their Facebook page while more than 17% agreed to receive future updates from Chicago Shakespeare Theater. "Rich Media Messaging is a mobile messaging technology that offers the most intimate and direct form of communication when compared to other mobile touch points," said Cezar Kolodziej, president and CEO of Iris Mobile [which worked with CST on their campaign]. "The behavior developed by mobile users with mobile messaging is such that we open and read virtually every message, not like email or other channels," he said. "Now, with the ability to send rich content, any entertainment or arts company can push trailers, previews and last-minute announcements to share the latest news with audiences in a visual rich format that is directly delivered to their mobile devices anywhere and anytime." The campaign was developed to build awareness for an upcoming production of Sunday in the Park with George.

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