The unlock advantage – how the search for instant gratification boosts impressions on mobile devices

Facebook and Google are leading when it comes to time spent on smartphones. This is largely due to the companies continuing to improve and innovate their content for mobile users. That’s according to new research from MobilePosse. The A New Lens on Mobile Behavior report also found that Facebook is the app of choice when it comes to killing time. Indeed, it is used more often than most others, adding a total value of $2 billion to its bottomline.

With the need for instant gratification, MobilePosse predicts that this trend will continue to grow for the social media giant.

A majority of the time, consumers who unlock their mobile devices will land on the last app they opened (61%). The homescreen was the first location 39% of the time.

The first app that appears on the device is Facebook’s News Feed for 6.7% of all unlocks, Chrome 5.5%, Google 4.6%, Instagram 1.5%, Snapchat 0.5% and Twitter 0.2%.

Importantly, 15% of all time spent using the Facebook app results from that very first load. That gives the social network a true “unlock advantage”.

Between the second quarter 2016 and Q2 2017, Facebook (28%) and Google (53%) both grew their mobile 1st screen share whilst competitors Snapchat and Twitter dropped 57% and 56% respectively. Interestingly, Instagram noted the biggest gains, growing its 1st screen share by a whopping 161%.

What may be an even more interesting finding is the fact that users tend to spend a similar amount of time using the Facebook app whether that’s on first open or when they receive a notification.

The average time spent with the app upon first unlock is 3.4 minutes with 38% of users spending less than 10 seconds, 34% 10 seconds to 1 minute and 28% spending more than a minute. That session length is near identical for notification-triggered usage with average session lengths of 3.9 minutes.

Overall, the findings point out that instant gratification may play a more important role than personalisation when it comes to reaching consumers on mobile devices.

MobilePosse went on to test this theory by making the content of six of the top 50 digital media publishers instantly available upon unlock to a test group of consumers. The consumer behaviour was then compared to content discovery behaviours. Ad revenue per thousand impressions (RPM) was markedly improved when making content instantly available. Indeed, RPMs were up 142% to 477%, and 654% better than traffic generated via mobile social.

This demonstrates that the “unlock advantage” is not strictly reserved to Facebook and Google, but publishers could benefit from it too.