By Greg Wester, EVP Marketing and Business Development

Big News Folks! We’re changing the way smartphone usage is analyzed and understood. We’ve partnered with a leading research firm, Phoenix Marketing International, to create an ongoing series of original research analytics about the mobile user journey called “A New Lens on Mobile Behavior.” While traditional analytics focus on “where” people end up on the smartphone, we focus on the “how” and “why” people get to those apps.

What people see and do on unlock has a profound effect on where they end up – and understanding this is critical to help carriers, OEMs, and O/S developers properly understand how to monetize the mobile experience and open up new revenue streams. These firms are involved in mobile advertising, but more importantly, these are the firms that design and shape how we actually use our devices. The entire UI/UX of the smartphone experience is in their hands, and as such there’s the need for a much richer set of insights on mobile behavior.  

The first report we published in May, “The First Dibs Opportunity”, had tremendous response from the market. This response helped us realize that this type of research would be vital in creating a disruption in the ad revenue game currently controlled by industry giants such as Facebook and Google. Our second salvo, “Gratification Beats Personalization in the Quest for Mobile Ad Revenue” focuses on Facebook’s inherent “Unlock Advantage” and how other players can use this info to innovate the smartphone, provide better content experiences for subscribers, and untap a multi-billion dollar opportunity.

Findings from this latest research include:

  1. Facebook Comes In First, Partially Because It is Loaded Last: In a world where consumers often unlock their mobile device merely for instant gratification, Facebook wins twice: once as it’s used last in a session to kill time, and once when it’s stumbled upon the next time. In total, 15 percent of all time spent in Facebook results from being the first application seen. This is what we call the “Unlock Advantage.”
  2. Facebook Has Grown Its First Screen Unlock Advantage Significantly: The strength of Facebook’s unlock advantage is trending up and widening its lead over other applications. From Q2 2016 to Q2 2017, Facebook increased how often it is the first app that appears by 29 percent. Additionally, the amount of time spent in Facebook due to it being the first app seen increased by 23 percent.
  3. Facebook’s Unlock Advantage Is Measured in Billions: The total value of Facebook’s “Unlock Advantage” is worth more than $2.5 billion. As people’s need for instant gratification grows, Facebook will continue to dominate the first screen.

To quote our partners from Phoenix: “To date, very little insight had been available into mobile user behavior and specifically the first-screen experience,” said John Schiela, ‎President Converged Technology & Media, PMI. “The research is groundbreaking, because it makes the case for carriers to take back their rightful mobile ad revenue from the likes of Facebook and Google.”

We look forward to bringing you more insight into the User Journey in our new research series, helping to provide insight on key mobile questions such as:

  • How can the unlock experience be improved?
  • How do different launchers impact the consumption of content and applications?
  • Can smartphones be made smarter by proactively delivering suggested materials?
  • How do all of these trends vary by age/demographics?

Do you have a question that you would like to see answered? I’d love to hear them. Contact me today at with your ideas!