UK Users Favour the Browser Over Apps

Orange has released the results of its Mobile Exposure study for 2010. Mobile Exposure is an annual independent study, carried out by TNS, that measures how mobile media users are engaging with mobile content and the mobile internet. This year’s research, covering mobile media users in the UK, France, Spain and Poland, illustrates the dominance of the browser, as people increasingly seek a PC-like experience on their phone. The study also identifies how, when, why and where European mobile media users access content, information and entertainment.

The browser versus application battle
Mobile browser use is most prominent in the UK, with seven out of 10 mobile media users choosing to find information and content in this way, rather than using mobile apps. This is similar in France, where 68 per cent of users favour the browser over 60 per cent who prefer apps. For certain content such as news, 73 per cent of female mobile media users in the UK prefer to access the web via browser rather than an application (65 per cent for men). In less mature mobile media markets, there is, however, more of an appetite for apps. Browser versus app usage in Spain is equal at 42 per cent, while only Polish users favour mobile apps (45 per cent) over the mobile internet (39 per cent).

58 per cent of UK users want to find the same things on their mobile as on a PC, as do 55 per cent of French users, 58 per cent in Spain and 72 per cent in Poland, suggesting browsing is popular because of its growing ability to offer a familiar internet experience on mobile.

What European users most like about mobile media is the quality of navigation (56 per cent), time-saving (51 per cent) and quick access (26 per cent).
Today, cost is a less significant barrier to entry for users in the UK and France (13 and 10 per cent respectively) where the mobile internet is more mature; however, in Poland (41 per cent) and Spain (28 per cent) price is considered more of an issue.

“These findings reflect the current maturity of the individual markets but also provide an insight into future trends for mobile media use,” says Paul Francois Fournier, executive vice president, online and advertising business at Orange. “In France and the UK where the mobile internet is more established, there are more optimised sites for phones and the experience is better, encouraging higher browser usage. Although mobile browser use is lower in Spain and Poland, we believe this is a trend to watch, as smartphone penetration increases, innovative pricing is adopted and faster networks are deployed.”

The impact of mobile media
The study also reveals how mobile media increasingly impacts traditional media consumption. Currently, mobile is negatively impacting print media, with 16 per cent of mobile media users in the UK stating they read fewer magazines and 14 per cent stating they read fewer newspapers. Orange says this trend is likely to continue as more consumers use smartphones and tablet devices. Internet use is, however, positively impacted, with PC browsing increasing for 25 per cent of respondents and television viewing increasing for 14 per cent. As interactive programming increases, television broadcasters have the most to gain from engaging with mobile media users, says Orange. The data also shows how the mobile plays a role as an extension of PC access to media. 40 per cent of European mobile media users will quickly check info on their mobile, before further investigating the same information when they are back at their PC.

Consumer trust: the rise of m-commerce
Mobile Exposure 2010 reveals current attitudes to m-commerce and the future potential for mobile payments. Although price is considered a barrier to mobile media users in Poland, 64 per cent would pay, reserve or redeem something using their mobile in the future. Comparatively, 48 per cent of French, 43 per cent of Spanish and 39 per cent of British users would use their mobile in this way.

The study illustrates the importance of trust, both for operators and brands, looking to capitalise on the interest in m-commerce. Women think trust in a brand is more important than men (98 per cent versus 87 per cent). In general though, more than three out of four mobile media users think it is important that the sites they access on their mobile are brands they know and trust (92 per cent UK, 83 per cent France, 87 per cent Spain and 75 per cent for Poland).
The research also reveals how mobile media habits change when people are in different locations and focused on different activities (e.g. email or social networking), allowing Orange to build and compare a clear country-by-country picture of behavioural shifts. In the UK, mobile media is accessed by 74 per cent of users when they are out and about; when at home 59 per cent use their mobile to search the internet via their phone’s browser. This jumps to 70 per cent when users are on the move. In the UK, Spain and Poland, respondents browse for longer on the internet when they are outside rather than at home, suggesting that as networks continue to improve, browsing on the move will continue to increase. In the UK, at home, the top pursuits are downloading music (82 per cent), games (80 per cent) and accessing social networks (74 per cent).

Exposure 2010 also reveals the information and content that European users are turning to most often. Email use is more dominant than social networks in all four countries, among mobile media users. Video and geo-location services, such as local information pushed to a phone, are also gaining in popularity.

UK Mobile Media Users – Key findings summary:

  • 55 per cent are male, 59 per cent are 16-34, 71 per cent are working
  • 70 per cent of UK mobile media users pay monthly, 52 per cent have an unlimited data package
  • 61 per cent own a smartphone, and 19 per cent own an iPhone
  • 7 out of 10 mobile media users choose to find information and content via a browser
  • 59 per cent of mobile media users who search the Internet via browser do it at home
  • 70 per cent of mobile media users who search the Internet via browser do it on the move
  • Top pursuits at home are downloading music (82 per cent) and accessing social networks (74 per cent
  • Email is still the most popular mobile media activity – over social networks – but geolocation and video are gaining in popularity.
  • 92 per cent of users think it’s important that the sites they access on their mobile are brands they know and trust

The research was conducted to coincide with the launch of the Orange Mobile Targeting Monitor (OMTM), a new campaign-planning and audience measurement tool for the advertising industry in Europe. The service, powered by the Mobile Exposure 2010 data, is designed to help brands better understand and target mobile media users in today’s complex market. The Mobile Targeting Monitor is available exclusively from the Orange Advertising Network.

On submission of a brief to the Orange Advertising Network (Unanimis in the UK), it will provide advertisers with a bespoke analysis and campaign insights based on their specified audience and sector, drawing on the Exposure 2010 research, which includes user data across a range of different sectors, including automotive, fashion, beauty, electronics, computers, gaming, mobile and internet, food and beverages, travel and leisure and insurance. Using the Mobile Targeting Monitor, Orange says it can outline the potential and appeal of an audience for a particular brand – together with how they use mobile media, purchasing and social behaviour, preferred mobile media formats and m-commerce opportunities.

For example, beauty brands can build campaigns based on how females in different countries engage with mobile media. UK mobile media users interested in beauty products are over 50 per cent more likely to use a shortcode to receive information on a product, or a picture or video message on their phone. For a similar audience in France, the stand-out ad format is sponsored pages via a browser (25 per cent), while in Spain, it is short text messages with a link to the brand’s mobile site (28 per cent), and in Poland, it is banner ads when browsing the web on mobile (17 per cent).

Jon Mew, head of mobile at the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) says: “As advertisers increasingly use mobile, one of the main challenges they face is knowing what the medium offers. Oranges Mobile Targeting Monitor will help advertisers understand the technology available, how it is consumed and how it can best work for them.”

The Orange Advertising Network offers access to digital audiences across five continents and 60 countries, including over 320m online, 30m on the mobile internet and over 750,000 IPTV customers in Europe.