How much do you love your phone?

Managing director of Balls2 Marketing Andy Ball discusses the latest research into how much we love our phones.

A recent study published in the journal Computer and Human Behaviour by Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Eotvos Lorand University showed surprising reactions from smart phone users. An experiment was performed on 87 smart phone users between the age of 18 and 26 who were rigged up to heart monitors to check their reactions.

They were asked to perform some maths tests and told they could use the calculator function on their phone. Then half were told to switch off their mobiles but keep them close by, and the rest had their mobiles put into a cupboard in the corner of the room. They did some more tests, word games and answered questions about their attachment to their phones.

Participants had their movements secretly filmed. It showed that during the break, people left without their phones displayed signs of stress including fidgeting, scratching and a fifth were drawn towards the cupboard. Heartbeat patterns revealed that participants reacted in a similar way to when a child is separated from a parent.

While this sounds extreme, what happens when you lose your phone? Does your heart start beating a little faster? Do you start searching frantically around your home or office? Do you feel a level of relief when you find it? It’s the same type of behaviour as the results from the experiment.  

The relationship we have with our phones has completely changed over the last few years. In 2016 Chicago based web and mobile services company dscout said on average users touch their phones 2,617 times a day. That’s a million times a year – with the top 10% doubling that.

I believe it’s a combination of the huge levels of information we store on our phones, along with easy access to anything we want. We can also justify the trust we place in our phones by using review and social media sites to check our decisions.

Mobile marketing will become more important and it’s a great opportunity for businesses to get ahead. Not just for ecommerce, but to start building relationships with customers on the phone so that when they’re ready you’re in their hearts and minds.