Snacking on the Crapper

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or The Ugly Truth about Mobile Content Strategy.

As the world increasingly becomes a mobile-led environment, so we must integrate mobile-centric thinking into our marketing and communications strategy. Content is the prime mover of any mobile-first philosophy. In fact, content consumption is being redefined by our increasingly mobile world.

When developing a content platform for a brand, we need to understand what is the preferred mode of consumption of our consumer. Most studies show that there are four distinct modes of consumption: Focused Use, Dual Mode, Time Shifting and Info Snacking.

With Focused Use our consumer’s behavior is well, focused.  Let’s say for example they are reading a book. They are reading a book on Metro North while commuting to the Big Apple. They reading a book via their eReader, tablet or perhaps their smartphone reader. In fact, one company found that more people read books via their smartphone app than their tablet or eReader. Crazy, right? I think this fact really brings home the idea of closely watching the consumer’s behavior and shifting your strategy to adept to that behavior.

The next mode is called Dual Consumption.  As the title implies our consumer is doing two things at once. The second screen phenomenon applies to that moment when the consumer is on their tablet or smartphone while watching TV. Here is the statistic to reinforce this scenario: 85% of smartphone usage is in font of a TV and 41% of Americans do it every day. Now the crucial point here is that most consumers in this scenario are locked in to a fixed time-based event. You are watching your Tuesday, 9pm zombie apocalypse adventure at home and engaged with your mobile device at the same time. Its ok. Don’t be ashamed. Everyone does it.

Our third mode of content consumption is Time Shifting.  The consumer chooses when to watch that week’s zombie apocalypse adventure. The content is varied from On-demand, DVR, podcasts, Instapaper, Pocket and the like. The idea is that you choose the what, when and where of that content.

The biggest mode of consumption of the four is Info Snacking. This moment occurs when you are in a perceived moment of stasis: standing in line, departure lounge at the airport, sitting in heavy traffic, waiting for your spouse or whilst on the john. Interestingly 75% of Americans are shown to have used their smartphone on the loo. People are increasingly absorbing short,  condensed content with bold subheads and bullet points. Take, for example, the format of Yahoo!’s News Digest app. Two daily news cycles with 8 articles that have a condensed format of a big image, subhead, a two paragraph body with a pull-quote and supporting social media quotes. I can get through a content cycle in 5 minutes.

The big idea here is understanding where and when your customers are using their mobile. Where and when you engage with your customers should effect and inform your content strategy. If you are a brand, aim your content strategy towards Info Snacking.  Give your customers something they would want.  Don’t just give them a deal or an offer. Mold your content in the image of your brand and give your customers something tasty to snack on.


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