The folks at the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project have issued a new report, “Americans and Their Cell Phones.” As always, Pew provides an unbiased look at how folks in the U.S. are using their technology. Although industry stats from CTIA show mobile phone penetration at 96%, this survey shows that 83% of American adults own some kind of cell phone. I suspect the difference is due to the folks who own more than one cell phone, leading to the appearance of slightly greater penetration than is actually the case.
This survey showed that 35% of American adults own a smartphone of some kind, and these users take advantage of a wide range of their phones’ capabilities. The most frequent activities were text messaging and taking pictures with their phone, followed closely by going online. Those results are well in-line with 4INFO’s own research into the behavior of mobile phone users.
Here are a few of the top results from the report:
- Cell phones are useful for quick information retrieval (so much so that their absence can cause problems) – Half of all adult cell owners (51%) had used their phone at least once to get information they needed right away. One quarter (27%) said that they experienced a situation in the previous month in which they had trouble doing something because they did not have their phone at hand.
- Cell phones can help stave off boredom – 42% of cell owners used their phone for entertainment when they were bored.
- With advantages comes frustration – 20% of cell owners experienced frustration because their phone was taking too long to download something; 16% had difficulty reading something on their phone because the screen was too small; and 10% had difficulty entering a lot of text on their phone.
Those of us in the mobile marketing industry can take away a few lessons from these results. First, targeting is more important than ever – not only by interest, but also by device and connection speed. When delivering branded content to a consumer, the last thing you want them to feel is frustration due to the length of time the download is taking, or the tiny font on the tiny screen. The use of phones for entertainment and information seeking represent great opportunities for brands that can accurately target and reach their desired audiences during these mobile interactions.