Knowing Your Audience in a Post-PC World

“What do you use your phone for most?” This was the question posed to the audience at the Digiday Agency Summit last month. The presenter, Jason Oates from LiveIntent, expanded on the multiple-choice question:

What do you use your phone for most?

a. Browsing the web
b. Watching videos
c. Facebook/Twitter
d. Email

I’d pick option d. Most people would. Most of the time spent using mobile devices is spent in e-mail. When you’re waiting in line, on an elevator, or sitting on the train, your first instinct is to take out your phone and check your e-mail. LiveIntent makes this the basis of its case for optimizing mobile email advertising.

Most of the people I met at the conference were working at companies dedicated to mobile. Mobile technology is pretty big and right at the cutting edge of innovation. Tablets and smartphones are the new laptop. Why buy an expensive laptop when your phone can do all the same things? We’re living in (or on the path towards) a post-PC world.

User Experience

The transition to mobile technology means that brands need to adapt to the new ways that people take in information. A shift in behavior means we need a major shift in strategy. Mobile is not just an extension of what already exists – it is a platform in and of itself.

We need to watch the consumers and understand their needs in the changing tech landscape. Social media similarly needs to adjust and cater to the mobile user. More importantly they need to offer something more. They need added value. For example, what does the Facebook app give us that the Facebook website can’t provide? What makes something inherently mobile?

Inherently Mobile

Foursquare and Instagram are good examples of channels created specifically for mobile. FourSquare takes advantage of a phone’s built-in GPS system. Instagram depends on your phone’s built-in camera. Both of these channels are hard to recreate outside of mobile. You can track GPS or take a photo with your laptop, but the results would be less interesting and less frequent, making for an uninspiring user experience. FourSquare and Instagram are successful because they were built around how individuals interact with their phones and with their environments. Social innovation for mobile needs to be a direct reflection of human actions and interests, with the understanding that these are a dynamic and changing set of needs.

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