Tablets gaining traction in finance, shopping and advertising

For consumers who own both a smartphone and tablet, the primary device is still the smartphone, yet this situation will be reversed in early 2013 and tablets will generate more than ten per cent of all website visits by 2014. These forecasts came from research published by software house Adobe, which surveyed 1,200 US mobile users in March to see how they interact with the web via mobile.

The participants were split nearly equally between male and female, while age groups were split into young (18–29), middle-aged (30–49), and older (50–64).

According to the research, tablet users are more likely to be home-based (70 per cent), with only a quarter of respondents using tablets on the go. Yet consumers devote a significant amount of time to their tablets, with 31 per cent using them daily for between one and four hours, suggesting that designing for the tablet experience is becoming a necessity for companies that want to maximise conversions via this form factor.

Adobe tracked several popular types of usage to see the impact of tablets on specific market sectors. Given the opportunity for financial services providers to acquire, convert and retain customers via the mobile channel, it was interesting to see that survey respondents reported a high negative-to-neutral rating for their experiences with transaction processes, ability to enter data, and navigation in this context.

The older age group also reported the most dissatisfaction with these experiences. Testing higher-level personalisation based on age could prove to be advantageous for organisations, Adobe said. With the older age group having more history of personal interactions with financial services, organisations may want to test their mobile channel as a portal to connect this age group to services that are easy to access. By creating more personalised engagement via mobile, organisations can create an experience that is closer to an in-establishment feel.

According to the research, the older age group also reported using tablets more often, so organisations should be taking advantage of the tablet screen real estate to provide an optimised experience, while differentiating brand and increasing conversions.

Due to the richer experience available, tablet users also appear to be slightly more valuable consumers when it comes to website visits than those who visit a site with a smartphone. IPad users (62 per cent) and Android tablet users (56 per cent) reported spending more than $250 on consumer products via their devices over the past 12 months, compared to 58 per cent of iPhone users and 53 per cent of Android smartphone users.

Overall, consumers who shop via mobile applications on Android tablets report the highest percentage levels of satisfaction at 88 per cent versus iPad users at 71 per cent, and Android smartphone users at 69 per cent versus iPhone users at 66 per cent.

But when it comes to shopping for consumer products via mobile websites, iPad users reported the highest satisfaction levels at 75 per cent, followed by the Amazon Kindle at 73 per cent, iPhone at 66 per cent, Android tablet at 66 per cent, and Android smartphone at 60 per cent.

Mobile advertising was another focus area, with more and more companies looking to mobile search and display ads to acquire new consumers and retain current customers. The ad spend for mobile search and display ads is anticipated to see a compound annual growth rate of over 50 per cent from 2010 to 2015, Adobe said, with a high percentage of consumers surveyed reporting that they are clicking through mobile ads presented in both mobile websites and apps, with 42 per cent clicking through ads on mobile websites, and 37 per cent clicking through ads on mobile apps.

Consumers also reported that a majority of advertisers are providing mobile-optimised experiences  on both mobile websites (73 per cent) and mobile apps (77 per cent), suggesting that optimisation of mobile ad content appears to be prevalent. Men are more likely to click through on mobile ads presented within mobile apps than women (42 per cent versus 32 per cent), so prioritising a testing roadmap to include campaigns that target men could yield a strong opportunity for conversion optimisation, Adobe said.

In terms of social media, it is no surprise that Facebook is the dominant social network accessed by mobile users (85 per cent), followed by Twitter (35 per cent), and then Google+ (21 per cent). While the most popular activity is to read status updates (85 per cent), consumers are also using their mobile devices to view Facebook fan pages of their favourite brands, leading Adobe to suggest that brands should have mobile-optimised experiences for offers launched from Facebook fan pages.

Moreover, a majority of consumers (56 per cent) access their social networks on a daily basis, with only 20 per cent reporting that they visit these sites on a weekly basis. Given the frequency of mobile visits to social sites, the ability to use dashboards to measure and optimise traffic that result from these visits is gaining in strategic importance, Adobe said.

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