We are in the midst of a digital revolution. As consumers, we are more connected than ever before thanks to the proliferation of digital devices and the explosion of online services. For brands, this presents a huge opportunity. Being able to reach a target audience across multiple devices means that you can engage with them wherever they are, resulting in the holy grail for any business; increased loyalty.

So what does this mean for the digital consumer? We wake up, pick up our smartphones, check the weather. Have breakfast, check out our iPads, read the news. Then we get to work, fire up our laptops and respond to our emails. For most of us, the average day involves multiple devices and a complex pattern of ‘user’ behaviour.

User behaviour is dictated by everything; from the business or industry we work in, to our locations, the day of the week and the time of day we are using our devices. Therefore, understanding how your audience behaves across different screens and varied content is crucial to knowing how to interact with and engage them.

For example, in almost all categories, UK users have a higher number of individual online ‘sessions’ during the course of the day, compared to, the US. But British consumers are not necessarily spending more time on their apps in total – in some cases they spend less. This is partly down to multiple device ownership as research has found that a quarter of Brits use three types of device (phone, tablet and computer) during the course of a month; spreading their app usage across all three.

For users in the UK, app usage is also much more centred around key points in the day. For example, in the UK, finance app usage peaks in the morning and then again in the evening (around commuting times). Conversely, news apps have a higher reach across all hours of the day; they are switched on at 6.00am and used throughout the day until 8.30pm. Brits also invariably check the weather before they venture out to work, lunch, or home. This explains why Brits have more individual sessions on their devices, yet strangely spend less overall time using weather apps, compared to their American peers.

But what does this all mean? Our connected devices have become our partners in crime, at our side throughout the day providing huge opportunities for deep and meaningful consumer engagement. Take Snapchat for example. Through looking at the data, and seeing how, when and where users are pretending to be dogs and cats (or bees) using their favourite filter, we can understand patterns and user behaviours. This translates to engagement and valuable metrics can be made to draw in advertisers and benchmark commercial success. Combined with demographic data, this information will provide huge insight to investors both at in-house and externally.

All of this information; from when we go online, to how frequently and how engaged we are, is vital to advertisers who are looking to better understand and target the right audience to maximise spends and revenue. In order to deliver this in our hyper-connected world, advertisers need a highly granular breakdown of user behaviour. For example, an hourly analysis of how and when people are using apps will help advertisers make better use of their ad spend by reaching their target customer precisely when and where they are most receptive to a message.


By Michael Read, UK managing director at Verto Analytics

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