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Research: People Are Merely Shells of Their Former Selves Without Their Mobile Devices

Mobile device use in a Geico ad

The expression “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is as true for our relationships with mobile phones as it is with each other. That was clearly evident based on recent research conducted by MediaVest and presented at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) Mobile Marketing conference on Tuesday in New York. MediaVest’s Richard Hartell, EVP, and David Shiffman, SVP, discussed the findings.

A deprivation exercise was part of MediaVest’s research approach. They took participants’ cell phones away for a day and noted their reactions. It wasn’t pretty. They reported feeling “lost”, “bored”, “impatient,” and “disconnected.”

Users’ strong reliance on mobile devices was underscored by another facet of MediaVest’s research. They used a diary to track mobile usage patterns throughout the day. It turned out that mobile phones are used during the morning, afternoon, and evening, both at home and on the go.

The survey also revealed details about how consumers experience mobile, and showed the most common uses and benefits to be:

  • Connectivity with social networks
  • Convergence: using mobile to connect with other electronic devices that keep users entertained
  • Navigation: using mobile to search for information and shop online, thereby enabling them to be more efficient

As for mobile content, 40 percent of those surveyed consume six or more types of mobile content or apps. The most popular include social networking, games, music, entertainment, weather, and GPS apps. Among the latter group in particular, that accounts for why they felt lost without their mobile phones for the day.

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