Study: Smartphones for on the go, tablets for long-term media consumption

Some usage habits overlap between smartphones and tablets, but there are significant differences marketers should know to effectively use the devices, according to a new study by Forrester.

For example, smartphones are most likely to be used for task-related activities, such as sending e-mail, going online and sending text messages, while tablets tend to be used at home and for long-term media consumption. This means that text message and shorter ads have been successful on smartphones, while longer ads, as long as they don’t disturb users’ media experience, should work fine on tablets, AdWeek reported.

The study, “Mobile Marketing: Not the same on tablets as on smartphones,” surveyed 549 U.S. online adults who own a tablet, and found that almost nine out of 10 (77 percent) use it in the living room, about four out of five (79 percent) use it in the bedroom, while only 24 percent use it at work.

These users access their tablets not only for Internet access, but also for other long-term multi-media consumption. More than 80 percent use it for web browsing and e-mail; 72 percent use it for playing games; and over half of these users view pictures or watch videos on their tablets.

“Long video ads are better suited to tablets, whose screens are bigger and whose users are likely to be at home and able to view them,” the study stated.

Forrester also surveyed 22,292 U.S. online adults who own a smartphone. More than 70 percent (72 percent) use it on the go, 64 percent use it in a restaurant or a coffee shop, 63 percent use it in a store while shopping, while 47 percent use it in a car.

More than 90 percent of these smartphone owners use the device for Internet access, as well as SMS/text messages, the study found. 85 percent use it to send or receive personal email, while about seven out of 10 use it to access social networking sites and play games. Another half of respondents use it to research products for purchase while shopping, while 46 percent use it to watch video or TV.

Compare to a tablet, “a smartphone is largely a personal device that ties one phone number to one person,” Forrester stated in the study.

Infographic: Carlos Monteiro via AdWeek

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