By Ravi Pimplaskar, Director of Marketing

The smartphone of tomorrow is taking shape. Thanks to unlimited data plans, the go-to source for quick content snacks during free moments has become our phones. This recurring desire to be satiated quickly with content has resulted in innovators “surfacing” content out of their app and search containers, and spawning new, “discovery-centric” interfaces that give subscribers easy access to that content. But one thing is still missing to perfect tomorrow’s smartphone: the right metrics.

Consider how these groundbreaking innovations have changed content discovery. We “ask” Siri to conduct our searches rather than typing. Google recommends content under it’s search browser. Android widgets give content previews viewed right from the home screen. Consumers have been quick to adopt these user-friendly solutions, meaning many more of these solutions will be on their way to market.

Living in an “App-nostic” World

App-nos-tic: The state of mind when using your smartphone to catch up on news, weather, sports, or entertainment without having a specific app in mind.

These solutions have made our phone usage “App-nostic” as opposed to “App-Centric”. Instead of finding a specific app to get to the content they love, consumers are pleased to get quick, low-touch access to content. As a result, you can’t measure these solutions in the same way as you would an app. Usage, adoption, and feedback would have to be in measured in completely different ways to determine effectiveness and consumer preference. Active users, session length, app ratings and other app metrics still have their place. But in the “App-nostic” world, we need something new.

The key difference of all these innovations is that they simplify the discovery of content. We aren’t digging into apps or typing anything. The “discovery-centric” solutions creates content engagement in different places on the smartphone. Yet, we have nothing that measures what you see when you open your smartphone. Or how content presented before you tap an app or type a search might affect a journey.

 “Discovery-Centric”: The Metrics We Need

If we want to build the perfect smartphone of tomorrow, we need to close this metrics gap. Carriers and OEMs have the most to gain as the proper metrics would allow them to guide their future innovation. Thanks to their influence over device development, carriers and OEMs are the ones that have the prevailing opportunity open to them, unless they choose to yield it to someone else.

These “discovery-centric” metrics would ideally tell us how engagement happens immediately after opening a smartphone – not only when someone enters an app or a browser. How often does the first thing someone see capture their attention? Are innovations that create new engagement changing user behavior? Measurement companies looking for the next big metric evolution (think of how MOAT scores were developed or Web analytics changed when News Feeds became more popular) should be jumping on this.

The Time is Now

Overall, there is an urgency for carriers and OEMs to dig deeper into the impact of “discovery-centric” innovations. The opportunity cost is too high for them not too. Other innovators will find their own “discovery-centric” solutions to circumvent the carrier and OEM advantage – sooner rather than later. So let’s move on from the metrics of yesterday and start building the smartphones we all want to see in the future.