I was recently given an assignment for one of my marketing classes to monitor my usage of my mobile phone in one sample day. I thought it would be interesting to expand on it a bit and post some of my observations regarding how I use my phone.
New Day, Same Apps
So I woke up and the first thing I do is check the time on my phone. I don’t have any clock in my room so my phone is both my alarm and clock. I have a plug next to my bed so my phone is plugged in charging all night, I imagine this is standard for most phone users. This is probably where the similarities end however, as I then have to unwrap myself from my Iphone headphones, for the past 3-5 years I’ve gotten used to falling asleep while listening to podcasts. It helps block out the noise of both the street next to me and whatever show my roommate is watching in the other room (last night was TheOffice at a volume of a Jet Engine). So I pause whatever episode the app is now on and I unplug the headphones.
I’ll usually stay in bed for another 5-10 minutes using a combination of Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat. It’s like the first 10 minutes of my day involve me “plugging into the digital/social world”, I’ll check for friends messages, what Trump got up to last night and then any other “general interest” posts. Then it’s out of bed and on to start the day.
Plugged In All Day
So I’ll usually eat breakfast in front of the TV as I watch Netflix or sports highlights so I’m not really active on my phone for the next few hours, that is until Football starts. Come 12 O clock Sunday I am so far invested in my phone that I think my apartment could catch fire and I wouldn’t notice until the Wi-Fi went down. For the next several hours my day consists of:
Watching One Football game on my actual TV
Watching a separate stream using my Ipad
Using my Yahoo Fantasy Football App to track all the points my amazing team is doing (First in the League as of this post)
I’m then using Facebook Messenger to trash talk my friends who are also watching Football.
I’m using SMS to text my mother about the amazing weather they’re having at the cottage.
I’m checking Twitter to get reactions to these games and I’m Snapchatting my friends showing how I’ve turned my apartment into a personal sports bar.
Then I have to order a Pizza because I’m too lazy to cook while watching Football.
Oh and Tinder buzzed me showing I got a new match (Yay Me!)
Now the usage of these apps would differ on a weekday but these are all probably the Apps I use the most. I have 45 Apps on my phone but MOST of those are the present ones the Iphone comes with. My Top 5 would have to be: Twitter, Facebook Messenger, Facebook, Snapchat, and during Football Season, Yahoo’s Fantasy. I would include the Podcast App but I’m using it only during my commutes and when I’m going to bed. So it’s very clear what I use my phone for, Gamification and Communication.
It occurred to me while I type this out that I probably am not the customer Google looks at when they talk about “Micro-Moments”. Even when I’m plugged in the most to my phone, I’m using a select few group of Apps to get what I need. I want to know… how my Fantasy team is doing so I check the App, I want to do…some communicating with my friends so I use the Messenger App. It’s not until I get to I want to buy…a Pizza that Google has had a chance to really recommend anything to me. In fact while being plugged into Football and Social Media I do everything in my power to avoid having companies affect me. I try to flip to different channels during commercials, I scroll past ads on twitter etc. Even once I ordered the Pizza I simply went to Pizza Nova’s website, I didn’t really spend time looking for a place to deliver I just went to the same company I’ve been using for years. I guess I’m trying to verbalise the weird realisation that I’m in marketing but do everything in my power not to be advertised to.
Frustration? I Don’t Know the Word
The fact that I use such a small number of Apps is probably why I don’t experience that much frustration. I simply use the Apps and hope they work and for the most part they do. Apps and websites that don’t work very quickly get taken off my phone. The most frustrating part of using my phone is having to use Data when the Wi-Fi is spotty but that’s more of an issue with Rogers or Bell than it is with anything a marketer could do to help. Really the only thing that bothers me is using Twitter and getting Ads in the middle of my feed, and some of these are highly relevant to me but it almost doesn’t matter.
What it Means for Me
This is something I’m really starting to think about the more I learn in Marketing. I seem to be the exception to the rule. I’m barely conscious when I listen to Podcasts so it’s very hard to advertise to me there, I scroll through ads on twitter on principle alone. So I don’t know how a company could better serve me better through mobile tech. Almost all advertising feels like it’s interrupting me or if it’s not it’s because it’s collecting Data that I’d rather it not have (hi Facebook). I’m going to get very “philosophical” here but perhaps that’s the point, on any adoption curve there will always be those who lag behind. I wouldn’t expect a company to adapt itself or an app, or experience to me because I truly believe they wouldn’t have anything to gain from doing it. Yes the Pizza Nova website made it easier to order the Pizza but I would’ve been just as content ordering from a PC if I had to or calling the number.
If I had to think of something a company could learn from me it’s that content is king. I’m not actively looking for purchases, I’m looking for stories. I’m looking for a game to enhance my experience watching Football or a way to communicate with my friends easily that involved as little direct advertising as possible. I think that lesson was learned when HBO started offering prime content with no advertising but I can’t envision a world where something like watching sports is ad free. Maybe I’m wrong, I’d really like to be.