Women’s strong emotional connection to smartphones requires unique approach: Time Inc.

People

WOmen have strong emotional connection to their smartphones

Women more so than men have a strong emotional attachment to their smartphones and tablets, suggesting marketers need to position their messages differently for mobile than other media channels, according to a new report from Time Inc. and Nuance Digital Marketing.

The study, Women + Mobile: The Unbreakable Bond, found that 87 percent of women say they cannot imagine their lives without their phone. A key takeaway from the report is that women want to hear from advertisers with messages that are relevant to their purchase although 91 percent do not want mobile ads that are intrusive.

We were surprised to see how emotionally connected women were to their phones, said Karen Kovacs, publisher of Time Inc.’s People magazine, New York. It really provided not only a tool to get things done but it also enabled her to stay connected.

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And they really talked about the phone with a very personal and emotional connection, almost a human connection to their phone, she said. It is the device that gives them bursts of joy or happiness or a way to stay connected to things that matter to her.”

Gender differences
Time Inc. found severalkey differences in the way men and women feel about and engage with their smartphones and tablets.

For example, 60 percent of women say their smartphone is the most important device in their lives compared with 43 percent of men. Additionally, 78 percent of women say their phone is the first thing they look at in the morning, 73 percent say it is the last thing they look at before going to bed and 98 percent say their phone is with them wherever they go.

Other key findings about the emotional connection that women have to their phones include that 64 percent say they are addicted to their smartphones compared to 58 percent of men.

Now time
Smartphones are also helping women turn passive time into active time, with 88 percent saying smartphones give them something to do during the 92 minutes a day of empty time they have when they are waiting on line at the bank or for an appointment or sitting in the car waiting for the kids to get out of school.

Women will often fill this time with mobile activities that provide emotional pleasure, with 72 percent engaging with social media via their smartphones during this time compared with 64 percent of men, 88 percent text messaging compared to 80 percent for men and 55 percent shopping compared to 46 percent of men.

What we heard across the board, was that there really is no more downtime, Ms. Kovacs said. We labeled it now time because women are saying, ‘What can I do right now in these pockets of time.’

Path to purchase
The report also found key differences in how men and women use smartphones for shopping.

For men, shopping on a smartphone is very task-oriented, with 58 percent using their mobile devices to find a nearby store, 50 percent to conduct a search and 41 percent to find a nearby store.

Men are also more likely to scan QR codes, with 50 percent of men doing so compared to only 38 percent of women.

When it comes to shopping, women are more likely to leverage smartphones throughout every stage of the shopping journey to help them make smarter purchasing decisions. For example, during the discovery stage 32 percent of women use their smartphones to make and save product wish lists compared to 26 percent of men.

In the planning stage, 23 percent of women collect discount coupons compared to 14 percent of men while 46 percent of women make shopping lists compared to 38 percent of men.

At purchase, 17 percent of women check in on apps such as foursquare to get discounts compared to 14 percent of men.

Post-purchase, 52 percent of women share photos of their new products compared to 35 percent of men.

Additionally, nearly half of all women would rather use their smartphone to get additional information than ask a sales associate in-store.

Marketing implications
From an advertising perspective, the findings suggest smartphones and tablets have opened up an opportunity for marketers to reach women during these moments of found time.

To do this successfully, marketers need to pay attention to how women want to be communicated with on smartphones, with 41 percent of women saying they are more welcoming to ads that let them control the experience, 52 percent are more interested in ads that are relevant to the content they are immersed in, 52 percent would notice ads that have colorful and bright visuals and 41 percent want ads that provide offers based on location.

Just being really mindful of when and where and how you are speaking to her because of the relationship women have with these devices, said Jackie Stasi, founder of Nuance Digital Marketing, Los Angeles.

It is very different than other mediums, which are more of a one-way conversation, she said. These devices play a really different role in her life so how you speak to her on them really makes a difference in how resonant your message is going to be.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York

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