If I had a dollar for every time my grandmother asked, “do you ever take your eyes off that thing?” then I would have…well…a lot of dollars. Sorry Grandma but it’s 2018 and mobile is where it’s at. Grandma may think it’s a waste of time, but my iPhone helps me stay organized, it provides and stores helpful information and is a useful tool for all the everyday micro-moments of modern life. So, how exactly does it help me? Keep scrolling to read more…
Starting My Mobile Day: Browsing the News
It’s 7, maybe 8 am. At this time, I’m either on the train into Toronto, sitting down at my desk at home or at the office or if I’m lucky, still lying in bed. This is when I want to browse the news, so I pull out my phone to get informed. If I’m already at my desk I’ll do this on my computer, but my first news check of the day usually happens on mobile. I’ll browse my usual news sites with Safari, as well as Twitter for more local sources and commentary from the people I follow. Unless I hit a paywall or that one stretch near Clarkson station where the signal is awful then this is a positive and frictionless experience. It leaves me feeling informed and ready to face the world, which for me is the ideal way to start a day.
Checking In on Slack
Alright, I’ve checked the news. Now, what’s going on with school? Being in a hybrid program has its perks, especially as a commuter, but juggling multiple group projects is challenging when you’re not on campus every day. Communication is key, so we use Slack (and sometimes Messenger) when I want to communicate or I want to know what’s happening with our projects. This need to know and communicate can happen anytime; you’ll see posts from me at 7 am, 11 pm or anytime in between! If I’m on the go then I turn to mobile. If I’m at my personal laptop then I may use the desktop app, but I’m often guilty of still using my phone. The outcome of this micro-moment ultimately depends on the discussion (or lack thereof) itself.
Apps, Apps and More Apps!
Every time I open my phone, I have 40 apps to choose from (23 of which I downloaded myself and weren’t pre-loaded). If it’s on my phone it’s there for a reason, but each has a different purpose. The value an app provides typically doesn’t correspond with how much time I spent on it.
So out of all those apps, which ones do I use the most?
So many options! While the thousands of apps available offer many possibilities, no single app offers as much as Safari does. The possibilities aren’t endless, but close to it, which is why I spend a lot of time there.
2. Words With Friends
I’m a bit embarrassed (and surprised!) that this showed up as one of my most used apps. I’m not big on mobile games but I started using this about a month ago thanks to family. It’s our silly thing for when we can’t play Scrabble together in person and a great way to make a long train ride go faster.
I love to stay up to date without having to read full articles. I love to connect with my community. I love live tweeting events. In other words, I love Twitter.
Unlike many people, I prefer to use text/iMessage when possible instead of other messaging apps, especially with the people closest to me, so this is where I do most of my mobile communication.
It’s always good to do a bit of mindless browsing, catch up on what people are up to and share a bit of my own life. I may spend a fair amount of time here, especially for killing time on the train, but Instagram is something I could definitely live without.
Time spent =/= value. Which apps do I value the most?
As I mentioned above, there is so much you can do. This is the one app where the time I spend on it matches its high value to me.
Living in Canada I think the value in this needs no explanation. As someone who likes to do outdoor activities (especially in the winter, yes I’m crazy) this is critical for establishing plans and determining clothing and equipment.
I was skeptical of meditation, but Headspace made me a believer. 2018 has thrown challenges at me that I never could have dreamed of. Headspace helps me relax, slows down my mind (that’s always in overdrive) and keeps me feeling grounded. That’s value I can’t put a price on.
My phone’s always accessible, so why not use that to pay for purchases or earn rewards points instead of digging out your wallet? I’ve been on board with Apple Pay since its release. Nothing makes me happier than saving time, even a few seconds.
In terms of time this is really split between Messages and Messenger. For value, I prefer Messages but can talk to more people on Messenger (like my sister who lives in Myanmar) and use it a lot during school for communication with classmates.
The Sun Sets with Spotify
As the evening rolls around and I’ve finally made it home, I either want to relax or I want to feel energized! For these micro-moments I turn to music from Spotify. Spotify’s endless choices mean I can always cater it to my mood, through my own playlists or saved songs, radio stations or Spotify/user-generated playlists for every occasion. Usually I listen to music at home, but also in the car, on the train or at the gym. However I’m feeling or want to feel, Spotify can help me out.
Do You Ever Want to Throw Your Phone at the Wall?
Unfortunately, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows in the mobile world, often thanks to a website that isn’t mobile optimized. Party City’s website comes to mind. I recently had an idea for a surprise for someone while on the train and wanted to plan it while it was fresh in my mind…but their mobile website is terrible! It kept adding filters I didn’t want, the menus were difficult to navigate and it was so slow. I eventually gave up and waited until I had my laptop to do my final browsing and planning. Party City is the best choice for both selection and location, but if there had been a similar option with a better website I definitely would have switched to that one instead.
The Future is Mobile…and Analytics
Now for marketers…what does all the above mean? It means a million things, but that would require a whole series of blogs. A key takeaway for marketers is that time spent does not always relate to value. Mobile marketers need to view analytics as a big interconnected story as opposed to a collection of isolated metrics. They also need to ask what those metrics truly mean. For example, low time spent isn’t necessarily a bad sign for an app if, like the apps I mentioned above, it delivers significant value to the user. Similarly, you could have millions of people download the app but if they don’t use it regularly or the usage drops off soon after download, is it really that valuable?
Data tells stories, and each metric is its own chapter. You wouldn’t read only one chapter of a book and make a judgement about the entire story, so marketers need to look at all the data available to them and make decisions based on the big picture, not just a metric that fits their narrative or goals. Better data analysis will lead to better strategy and tactics, which will make a better mobile experience that meets all the needs and micro-moments of the many mobile users in today’s world.
The world is on their phones, and we’re still in the early days of mobile. I look forward to seeing how mobile developers and marketers will find better ways to cater to our micro-moments, how they’ll create new needs and micro-moments for us and how mobile will carry us into 2019 and beyond.