Smartphones now more popular than TV: How can SMEs adapt?

The average person in Australia now spends more time on a mobile device than sitting in front of the TV, according to research released yesterday.

The 2014 AdReaction study, published by MillwardBrown, found for the first time US consumers use their smartphone as their primary screen. According to the research, Americans spend 151 minutes per day on their smartphone compared to 147 minutes watching television.

The figures are similar in Australia, with Aussies spending a daily average of 132 minutes on their smartphones. In comparison, 125 minutes are spent watching television and 102 minutes on a laptop.

Michelle Gamble, chief executive of Marketing Angels, says a mobile screen culture is something small businesses need to be taking advantage of – particularly when it comes to platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

“If small businesses are not using social media they are missing out on a lot of potential attention and screen time from consumers,” she told SmartCompany.

“You’re seeing it if you’re watching programs like Q&A – it’s driven by tweeting. Clearly there’s a lot of cross-platform stuff happening where people can leverage social media and their traditional broadcast methods as a way of engaging people.”

Gamble says while small businesses are not going to have access to large television audiences, there are still many ways they can interact with their key market.

At the very least, businesses should aim to have a mobile-friendly website so that customers don’t have to shift from their phone to a desktop computer. Otherwise companies risk losing customers to a more mobile-friendly competitor.

“If you don’t have a mobile-friendly version of your website, that is critical. I’ve often gone to do things on an iPad but if the process isn’t seamless or easy I’ll give up.”

The survey found apart from a noticeable shift to mobile devices, consumers are also using multiple screens at the same time. Forty per cent of screen time in Australia is done using more than one device – such as a mobile phone and a television – while 60% of screen time is done using only one platform.

When asked why they used more than one screen for unrelated content, 45% of Australians surveyed said it was to fill time during the ad breaks while 40% said it was to keep up with friends on social media.

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