Saturday, January 16, 2016

Probably the only thing that’s growing faster than the population of the Philippines is the population of mobile phones in the country. To date, mobile phones outnumber the population by 5%, and smartphones are expected to overtake feature phones before the end of the year at 43%-37%, respectively. This should come as no surprise because Filipinos’ penchant for mobile in general, and social media in particular, has resulted in titles such as Selfie Capital of the World and Social Media Capital of the World. Most recently, the country even broke Twitter’s record of most number of tweets for #AldubMostAwaitedDate and #NationalPabebeWaveDay.

Needless to say, smartphones are here to stay. But though it may be the most accessible platform today, it remains to be the least maximized in terms of advertising. Which is why through Epinion’s 27,076 robust online panel of netizens, Omnicom Media Group (OMG) sought out to discover uniquely Filipino trends that would illuminate the secrets to employing mobile advertising to its fullest.

Says OMG CEO Mary Buenaventura, “Our goal was to identify behaviors, whether positive or negative, Filipinos have toward mobile and align them with corresponding behaviors and preferences that advertisers can leverage on to engage the mobile Filipino. Turns out, Filipinos are not only dependent on mobile, the exponential rise of smartphones will make us even more so.”
Functionally dependent

4 out of 10 mobile Filipinos could not last an hour without checking their mobile phones. They check it the moment they wake up until they fall sleep. They make sure they have it on hand every minute because they feel safe with it and uneasy without it, and it’s not just because they are unreachable during the rare times they are not holding it. Perhaps it’s because mobile phones have become more than just a means of communication; it’s become a toolbox of apps tailored to its owner. Apps such as camera, email, browser, utilities, and chat help owners maneuver through their daily lives a little bit easier. Furthermore, music, games, video, books, and niche apps are the go-to sources for entertainment for smartphone users. It’s understandable then that 7 out of 10 Filipino smartphone users heavily depend on their smartphones to ease boredom.

Emotionally fixated

9 out of 10 people feel uneasy without their mobile phones because they feel FOMO (fear of missing out) without it. Because 8 out of 10 people rely on their phones for updates on what’s happening around them, it’s imperative for them to have their smartphones on hand at all times. Notifications – affirmation in the form of likes, shares, favorites, and comments – have become the most valuable currency in social media, and 25% of all smartphone users check their notifications every 30 minutes.

Smartphone sepanx

This functional dependence and emotional fixation Filipinos have toward their smartphone causes them to feel sepanx (separation anxiety) whenever he’s without it. And it’s this smartphone sepanx that fuels mobile advertising today. Mobile ads have already piqued Filipinos’ curiosity, with 77% claiming to have clicked on a mobile ad. Moreover, 9 out of 10 Filipinos actually want to be pushed ads that are personalized to their interests. In addition, 82% of Filipinos are attracted to promos, which is probably why 70% find ads that present incentives enticing. An estimated 84% of Filipinos will explore and search about a brand after seeing its mobile advertisement, and 30% will voice their opinions about their experience with a certain brand on social media.

Mobile advertising today

But how exactly can the potential of mobile advertising in the Philippines be harnessed to its full potential? Is it just as elementary as exploring the plethora of mobile touch points or plotting the peak hours on which Filipinos are most receptive to mobile advertisements? Is there an ideal way brands should engage consumers on mobile or would integrating mobile with other mediums be optimal? 

In this research, Omnicom Media Group discovered the gap in mobile advertising in the Philippines – the gap between what was known before and how it was being done, and what we now know and how mobile advertising ought to be done. Here, OMG identified several unique characteristics of mobile as an advertising medium and the best ways to take advantage of them to create meaningful imprints on the lives of Filipinos.

Concludes Buenaventura, “The key takeaway is that consumers have preferences and predilections that have evolved with the ubiquity of smartphones and increased access to the Internet on mobile. It would behoove advertisers to learn from this research if they’d want to remain relevant and desirable to the mobile Filipino.”

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