New decade heralds the age of digital mobility

Date: Tue, 07/06/2010 - 18:46 Source: EIAA press department

Europeans are more mobile and engaged with online than ever
New decade heralds the age of digital mobility Image credited to BT

The European Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA) recently reveals the findings of new research that shows digital mobility making its way into the mainstream. Technological innovation coupled with a diverse range of access points for consumers is driving deeper usage online, presenting marketers with a vastly mobile pan-European audience to target and engage with in 2010 and beyond.
The EIAA’s Mediascope Europe study across 15 European markets highlights how consumers are extending the ways in which they enjoy and engage with the internet and its growing influence on everyday lives. With a majority of people now aware they can use the internet via their mobile phone (48% vs. 47%), and a growth in wireless broadband and laptop use, the findings demonstrate how the increased diversity of internet-enabled devices is allowing consumers to go online at any time of day and in more locations than ever before.
Increase in internet-on-the-move
Overall, 71 million Europeans browse the mobile internet in a typical week and, with almost an hour a day actively spent going online via their mobile (6.4 hours per week), ‘internet-on-the-move’ is proving a more frequent pastime than reading newspapers (4.8 hours) or magazines (4.1 hours).
It is the younger generation of early adopters that is largely driving this increase with almost a quarter (24%) of 16-24 year olds and 21% of 25-34 year olds already using the mobile internet, spending 7.2 and 6.6 hours on it respectively each week.  This trend of increased consumer reach and time spent online looks set to continue with improving internet coverage, speeds and services. Marketers would therefore be well advised to recognise how consumers are increasingly engaging with the internet, at more times throughout their day and across a myriad of interactive touch points, and ultimately use this insight to develop effective multi-media marketing strategies.
The internet as an entertainer and enabler
The internet continues to prove a popular source of entertainment with one quarter of Europeans (25%) gaming or listening to the radio online (25%), and one third watching films, TV or video clips online (32%) at least once a month. With over one quarter (29%) of Europeans following brands more as a result of the internet, the medium is being used for fun and for function signifying that users have high levels of both emotional and rational connection with the medium. Amongst those with an internet enabled phone, half (49%) claim to receive video clips, websites or images on their mobile and four in five (80%) say that they pass on the content they receive. This suggests that those online via their mobile are both technologically sophisticated and deeply engaged - highlighting a prime opportunity for marketers to build brand awareness and peer recommendations.
Additionally, ‘Word of Web’ continues to play a central role in communications with almost three quarters (71%) of European internet users admitting that they stay in touch with friends and relatives more as a result of the internet. Again, mobile seems to be a big driver with almost half (48%) of Europeans using their internet enabled phones for more than verbal conversation. 16% state they communicate using social media via their mobile, with 16% also using mobile instant messenger. Advertisers can therefore benefit from the growing consumer appitite for constant updates and entertainment on the go and use this insight to plan for multi-media campaigns that engage with consumers across a number of platforms.
Converging media experiences
Media convergence is on the rise with the research revealing that one third (36%) of European use the internet whilst watching TV. With recent technological advancements such as the iPad, and given almost half (46%) of European households already own at least one laptop and 121 million Europeans (52%) now use wireless broadband, increased mobility and convergence seems inevitable. Marketers should no longer look at media in isolation but rather embrace the media-meshing trend and the wealth and diversity of advertising opportunity it affords.
Extending scope: changing the status quo
This year the Mediascope Europe study has been extended to incorporate a further five European markets in addition to the original ten. The research now includes Poland, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland and Turkey to capture the different ways in which consumer media habits and behaviours are developing across Europe.
While these markets all display very different characteristics and are at varying stages of internet development, one trend that stands out is the speed of mobile internet growth. This is particularly apparent amongst the larger Eastern European countries, all of which show no signs of the time-lag observed in larger Western countries when dial-up internet and broadband connections were first adopted. Poland tops the chart of markets that spend the most time on mobile internet (10.3 hours each week), with Russia also appearing in the top five (7.1hours). Interestingly, there are more mobile internet users in Turkey compared to those that access internet via their PC (21% vs. 20%) demonstrating that consumers will engage with new platforms if it makes the internet more accessible for their everyday lives.
These ‘newer’ markets such as Russia, Turkey, Poland and Portugal are regarded as rising stars, with a rapid increase in weekly internet use expected in coming years. With an average growth in European internet use of 11% every 2 years, we can predict how internet penetration in these markets might grow in coming years.
Alison Fennah, Executive Director of the EIAA said: “Better devices and connectivity as well as enhanced consumer motivation all started coming together in 2009 to improve and extend the overall online experience. As a result, the internet is now being consumed across PC, laptop, mobile and gaming devices, providing 24-7 access to digital information and entertainment. This presents a compelling case for brands to explore and incorporate a growing number of complementary interactive platforms into the marketing mix.
“Indeed, new age patterns of media consumption indicate that marketers should be looking to develop multi-platform strategies that reach and connect with consumers more effectively and increase ROI. This is opposed to making media decisions based on an ‘either or’ basis if they want to reach all demographics.” 
Michael Kleindl, Chairman of the EIAA and Managing Partner of Valkiria Network said: “Technological innovation coupled with consumers’ continued desire to merge their media presents a huge opportunity for advertisers as we move into 2010. It is important for brands to adapt to this shift in internet mobility and use this insight to shape their marketing strategies.”


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