14 Nov

The Four Aspects of Media Friction

By Greg Wester, CMO

This blog has been adapted from a chapter in our recent eBook, “A Carrier’s Practical Guide to Winning Mobile Content Discovery”. To read the entire eBook and find out how to become a major mobile leader in 180 days, please follow the link.

In the world of digital content, the barriers are down. Different solutions and providers are fighting for consumer attention in news, local, lifestyle, and entertainment content. In this environment, the breakout winners of consumer attention will be those who best remove friction so that consumers can most seamlessly get the media that they want – when they want it.

Tech companies continue to use new UI/UX, machine learning and artificial intelligence to eliminate the swipes, taps, types, waits, pauses, confusion, indecision, and more – that are part of the media friction we have today and slow down the process.

These new solutions are targeting 4 distinct aspects of media friction that simplify how we discover and consume the media we love:

  1. Discovery: Removing the need to search for the things we enjoy is a central battleground since over half the time we use our phones we do so without a particular task in mind. Then, once we complete a task on our phone, we “seek out” something else. Content Recommendation solutions (Outbrain and Taboola), device UI/UXs like minus screen launchers, and the Apple News “widget” all take the dated notification to the next level. These advancements seek to conveniently bring us the content we love, no matter where we are on the phone.
  2. Search: Reducing the effort required to find the content we’re looking for is being changed by voice and image recognition. Siri, Alexa, and Bixby’s voice UI are all examples. Voice will be everywhere, including the phone, but the phone is primarily a visual device, so other technical enhancements are more dominant.
  3. Access: Increasing accessibility to content no matter where subscribers are has been done in many ways – for example, cloud access of music & video means you don’t need to carry your media, cloud-based location synching (e.g., where in a book, or where you are in a movie means you never leave your place) and voice agents that give access to content anywhere in voice range. Next-gen mobile content discovery solutions also ease Access by putting content at our fingertips as we transition between mobile activities.
  4. Snacking: Serving content ideal for shorter sessions is critical. The median mobile session is only 28 seconds long! While in line, watching commercials, or sitting in an Uber, we turn to our smartphone to engage our wandering mind. This has made the smartphone into “activity spackle” — something we use to fill those small gaps in our day. This increases the need for rich, engaging experiences that deliver value in small packages. Shorter content with faster delivery results in a yummy, quickly digestible snack!

Recent history shows that simplifying across any of the four factors has been a blueprint for success. The success of platforms like Netflix and Pandora greatly improved how we consume video and music respectively. And for content, we have already seen Google enhance its search by creating a new portal called “Discover”. Meanwhile, Facebook used their frictionless feed to virtually own media discovery.

These and other moves by media giants validate that there’s a massive opportunity to be a game-changer when it comes to consumer attention. Time will tell how other providers like carriers and OEMs leverage their control of the device to boost Discoverability, ease Search, create more Snackable experiences, and increase Access to the media we love.

This blog has been adapted from a chapter in our recent eBook, “A Carrier’s Practical Guide to Winning Mobile Content Discovery”. To read the entire eBook and find out how to become a major mobile leader in 180 days, please follow the link.