Beneath the surface: Uncovering the hidden motivations of mobile users

Vicki Draper
Greg Stucky
Insights Now

The marketing dilemma: Surface level view = surface level insights

AOL has recently adopted a "mobile first" strategy for product development. As a content publisher, whose business is primarily ad-driven in the online space, AOL is quickly repositioning its organization to fully understand the cross-platform consumer and successfully execute its vision in the mobile space. At the same time, more of AOL's B2B customers like BBDO are looking for integrated cross-platform solutions from their media partners, and at a more basic level, guidance on how they should move their own brands into mobile.

While mobile is a fast-growing market with many opportunities, there are significant challenges. The industry takes a too superficial view of mobile behavior, based on the discrete things that people do on their smartphones: they use their phone to compare prices, they check the weather, they order food, and so on. It's easy to view the mobile landscape using these smartphone features/capabilities as topographical landmarks – all of which characterize the surface view. This narrow view of mobile behavior means that publishers and advertisers have not adapted their methods or their messages to be fully optimized for this medium. This is evidenced by the fact that while consumers spend more than 10% of their media time on mobile (eMarketer 12/11), only 1% of ad spend is allocated to mobile (IAB 2011).