Putting mobile interaction into action

Shoppers1There was a time when the idea of a group of people sitting in their living rooms with a television on was viewed as the height of anti-social behaviour.

Television, or so we were told, actively reduced the number of social interactions we took part in each day and was labelled as a scapegoat for the ‘lost art of conversation’.

Today, the time we spend in front of our televisions is fast becoming the most social time in our day.

The reason? Mobile interaction.

Today, our mobile phones accompany us at all times, giving us up-to-date information through social networks, email and text messages.

We interact with our mobile devices in almost every conceivable way, and relate it to every single thing we observe and experience.

Nowhere is this more expertly illustrated than the time we spend watching television. A study conducted last year by the Office for National Statistics, suggested that the number of people in the UK using mobile phones to access the internet has doubled in the last three years alone.

Research specialists Nielsen have also claimed that three quarters of all TV viewers interact with their mobile phones, computers, or tablets while watching TV, underlining the importance of this opportunity for brands looking to embrace this medium.

What this tells us is that today’s audiences enhance their TV program and TV commercial experiences by updating themselves, seeking additional information, and directly discussing content with others during transmission. This increased and relatively recent level of mobile interaction is significant, and it’s no wonder that brands are looking to embrace this new opportunity.

What’s clear is that TV and mobile devices increasingly exist in a symbiosis, and there seems little doubt that UK advertisers are looking to benefit from this phenomenon to further drive the adoption of mobile advertising.

We’re already seeing advertisers exploring these possibilities with a range of new, mobile-dependent innovations that could change the way we interact and communicate with brands for good. Already, products and services are blurring the lines between television and mobile further by linking advertising on televisions directly with what users see on their mobile devices. The aim of this is, of course, to build brand awareness by synchronising mobile advertisements and TV commercials as they appear, and allowing a more integrated experience for the end-user.

However, it’s important to remember this brave new world of synchronised advertising across platforms is dependent on brands acknowledging the importance of interaction in this process. It’s not enough for them to consider mobile advertising in the same way as traditional advertising.

Mobile adverts need to encourage the link between TV and mobile by ensuring that they invite interaction from users, and that they do not ignore the possibilities that mobile platforms provide. Advertisements that engage the user by providing them with a sensory ‘experience’ that links to what they have on their televisions are far more likely to prove successful, and to immerse the user in an integrated way.

The bottom line is that advertisers can no longer view mobile merely as a one-dimensional, one-way means of using a specific media to plant a message. The way we deliver and consume advertising is evolving, and only those who recognise the importance of moving with the times and have a strategy behind the way they put mobile interaction into action will be the ones to benefit.

Joy Dean is head of partnerships at WideSpace