New Facebook Research Shows People Care About Their Phones - A Lot
In one of the more unusual, yet interesting, research projects from Facebook, analysts from The Social Network have investigated how people deal with losing their mobile phones, through the filter of the Facebook experience. They've released their findings on the Facebook IQ blog, highlighting the number and frequency of conversations that happen on the platform regarding lost phones.
From the blog post:
"Many of us consider our mobile phone to be our lifeline to the world. Home to essential apps, appointments, messages, music, names, numbers and notes, our mobile devices connect us to the people and things that matter most to us.
At some point, many of us will be faced with the challenge of losing our phone. But that moment of misfortune also has the potential to be wonderful-a chance for people to remember that they are cared for, that help is always close at hand and that life can be surprising and delightful.
As part of our "Moments That Matter" series, we set out with the simple task of exploring how people talk on Facebook about losing their phones. What we unearthed was a story about the importance of friends' support-and a larger opportunity for brands to participate in and enhance similar moments."
Weird, right? Surely you're not going to be able to reveal a heap of insights into the Facebook experience - or the human condition - via conversations about lost mobile phones. However, Facebook's researchers have set out to do just that. Looking at the data, the team have unearthed a range of informative points - like the fact that 75% of people who've lost their phones post to Facebook about losing their phone via a mobile device, be it their own tablet or replacement phone, or a friend's mobile device. Facebook also found that posts about "lost phone" receive two times more comments that average, and those comments are 56% more positive than normal.
So what does this tell us? People care about their phones. A lot. And they're always losing them - 51.2 million interactions per month related to lost phones is a crazy high number, but does this data teach us anything more about how to better utilize Facebook or about people's growing reliance on social media? Maybe.
In their summary findings, Facebook 's research team suggests that:
"The "lost phone" moment highlights a larger opportunity for brands to help people in trying situations-connecting with people by rescuing and supporting them in meaningful or surprising ways."
That seems like a bit of a stretch - they also offer actionable tips like "Be a constant beacon" (which reminded me of the film "Sneakers"), "Be a modern day Samaritan" by finding moments to connect with your audience in meaningful ways, and "Be as mobile-first as your audience". But really, what the "lost phone" report shows us is that people are inherently forgetful, immesurably clumsy, and really love their mobile phones. They can't live without them, so much so that they have to go grab another phone just to post about how they've lost their phone.
It's amazing to think of how we ever got by without mobile phones - in one of comedian Russell Brand's live shows he talked about how people look at him as if he's from the Stone Age whenever he explains what life was like without mobile devices. He explained how, back in the day, you'd have to call someone and organize a place to meet them, and if you went there and they didn't show up, you'd just have to go back home. Such was the way of things just fifteen years ago, yet it does seem incredibly distant now.
The Facebook "lost phone" report reinforces just how much we've become dependent on both mobiles and social media to keep connected with our friends and family. The pure level of activity surrounding such an occurrence shows that there's more than just a recreational preference for constant connection, it's become a necessity. What these figures highlight, more than anything else, is that people like their phones. A lot. Ignoring the mobile aspect of any content plan is likely to cost you, as that, increasingly, is where your audience is at.
Thumbnail image via Shutterstock
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