The mobile phone is changing the way we think. This is not conjecture, this is fact. The truth of the impact of mobile is backed up by some of the most eminent neurologists and professors the world over. Michael Merzenich, Professor emeritus and neuroscientist at the University of California, says that our brains change as a function of what we do, what we are good at and what we master. We are spending more time on our mobile devices than we ever have done, 4.5 hours a day in fact (source: eMarketer 4/15). We are mastering  (or trying to master) flappy birds and Clash of Clans, and as a consequence changing the way we assimilate information and act on decision making cues.

What is the impact of mobile?

Some of the impact of mobile – or rather increased mobile usage – is good. And some of it clearly is not.

Mobile is an interruption system. The vast amount of information at our fingertips feeding into our brain is giving it a real processing problem. Because of the vast information bank available to us all, and the fact that we are spending more and more time on our mobiles, accessing and being stimulated by them, our working memory gets overloaded. This results in a struggle to convert short-term memories into long-term ones. The consequence of this means we are processing the information we get far more shallowly.

There are also up-sides, however, to the over-active use of our mobile phones. Studies into gaming have clearly found that gamers are boosting their decision-making reflexes and skills based on visual cues. So not all of the impact of mobile is detrimental. Gaming is also raising the brain’s “cognitive flexibility”, increasing the ability for us to multitask – an ability that the male half of the population have been renowned for lacking.

These are only a couple of snapshots into the impact that mobile is having on our little grey cells. There are many more, both positive and negative, affecting the way we process information and act on it. The consequences of these effects, however, are huge for marketers who are using mobile channels to communicate and “sell” a service to their target customers. It’s essential to be aware of this and plan your marketing and engagement accordingly.

Traditional messaging strategies and ads are less well-remembered and, as a consequence, less influential in prompting a desired action.

There is a very simple mantra that we’ve found works really well in this brave new frontier of mobile marketing and the evolving consumer. It goes like this:

Give, State and Integrate

To cut through the massive noise of desired and undesired information, today’s marketer needs to give the mobile user an incredibly compelling reason to consider their marketing message. This is the “Giving” bit. It has to be something that the individual feels is worthwhile; a moment of excitement such as a timely piece of news or something valuable such as an offer or free content.

Creativity and the messaging strategy has never been as important. You have to be able to stand out from the crowd via the quality of your visual representation, your headline and the best use of the medium. It is key to getting noticed and create a reaction. Too many people dismiss the need for smart creative thinking in mobile and suffer as a consequence.

Integrating ads and messages into the mobilista’s mobile lifestyle is the final piece in this puzzle. This can be manifest in the age-old mantra of having the right message in the right environment at the right time for the particular person you are trying to engage with. The mobile ecosystem affords us the tools to be able to deliver our messages and content at a relevant time and location to an audience that wants to be engaged with relevant communication. There is no better way of doing this than in a native format that is fully embedded into a mobile users’ information feed or game.

So, we are finding it harder now to concentrate, but a positive impact of mobile is that we are getting smarter about how we make decisions. Being aware of this and being relevant with any mobile marketing activity is the first step to ensuring success in the mobile space for any marketer.

 

Want to find out more about optimising your app and keeping up with the latest OS capabilities? Get in touch by visiting the Contact Us page. Follow us on LinkedIn, chat with us on Twitter @yodelmobile, and join our #mobilemarketingUK LinkedIn group.

Read more from Mick: The app is the Swiss army knife for consumers and David Bowie ponders the future of mobile