Mobile Media Consumption Pushes Brands From Channel To Mindset In Communication Planning

The ubiquity of mobile devices and communication has upended global media consumption—24 percent of all media consumption across the world will be mobile this year, up from just five percent in 2011, according to Zenith Media. Zenith Media, part of advertising and public relations firm Publicis Groupe, projects that the rise of mobile will force brands to transform the way they plan their communications across media, focusing less on channels and more on consumer mindset as the distinctions between channels are eroded.

By 2020, Zenith expects that 28 percent of all media consumption will be on the mobile internet. Mobile internet use has eroded the consumption of almost all other media. Newspapers and magazines have lost the most—Zenith estimates that between 2011 and 2018 time spent reading newspapers has fallen by 45 percent and 56 percent for magazines. However, this refers only to time spent reading printed publications.

Time spent reading newspapers and magazines online is included in the internet total, and for many publications the time they have gained online more than makes up for the time they have lost from print. The time spent watching television decreased by three percent between 2011 and 2018, while time spent listening to radio fell by eight percent.

Television channels and radio stations have gained audiences online at the same time as they have lost them offline, but they have faced stiff competition from native digital platforms such as YouTube and Spotify.

“Under traditional definitions, all other media are losing out to the mobile internet,” said Jonathan Barnard, Zenith’s head of forecasting and director of global intelligence. “But the truth is that the distinctions between media are becoming less important, and mobile technology offers publishers and brands more opportunities to reach consumers than ever.”

The rise of mobile has blurred the boundaries between different channels: it can be used for entertainment, news, information, research, socializing and communication. For brands it can build awareness, create direct responses, allow one-to-one communication or generate earned content, depending on how the consumer is using the device, and in particular their mindset while using it.

Zenith notes that the consumer who is actively searching for specific information is in a very different mindset from one who is sharing holiday photos with friends or enjoying a video. Brands need to understand the signals a consumer’s activity provides about their mindset, and therefore what forms of communication are appropriate.

Focusing on mindset also dissolves the distinction between traditional and digital media: it’s more important that a consumer is reading news than whether they are doing so using a printed newspaper or newspaper websites.

People who are watching video content on television sets, laptops or smartphones have much in common, though people watching long-form entertainment can have quite different mindsets than people scrolling short-form content on social media. Brands need to decide the role each platform plays in their communications strategies, however the consumer happens to access it.

“Mobile technology is challenging brands to rethink how they communicate with consumers,” says Vittorio Bonori, Zenith’s global brand president. “Brands need to understand both the consumer’s mindset and where they sit on the consumer journey to determine how to communicate with them. By using data, ad tech and now artificial intelligence, brands can coordinate their communications across media and mindsets to move them along the consumer journey most effectively.”

filed under July 2018
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