Mobile phones are so embedded in everyday life that we often don’t consider the effect they have on our mood, or how the way we use them varies depending on how we are feeling. But when you think about it, it’s likely that you’ve browsed a news app and thought, “that’s interesting”, or perhaps you listen to Spotify when you feel bored.
RealityMine’s Analytics team investigated the relationship between mood and mobile phone use using USA TouchPoints e-diary and passively collected mobile phone data. Our analysis has confirmed that among American mobile device users, there are common links here– certain emotions do have the capacity to influence the way that we use devices and mobile applications.
We found that a large proportion of people feel overwhelmed within the same half hour as using a calculator or personal banking application via their mobile device. A logical explanation of this would be that financial issues naturally cause an individual to feel overwhelmed, as a solution to these problems mobile banking apps are used to transfer funds and calculators help to gauge budgets. Among the lonely, messaging and music applications have a high reach as people try to counteract their mood by initiating conversations with friends or family or listening to feel good music. Similarly, the use of Candy Crush Saga is triggered by boredom. The social aspect of the game, combined with its highly addictive nature makes it the perfect remedy for procrastinators and the bored alike.
While we have seen the way in which mood influences use of particular mobile device applications, our analysis has also revealed that certain categories of media consumption can act as emotional triggers. We found that levels of frustration are particularly high in people using software programs and email, however this is most likely to be a consequence of high frustration levels among people in the workplace.
Sport frequently invokes intense emotions among dedicated fans dependent on allegiances and team performance, our findings converge with this, revealing that 32% of people felt angry and 33% felt happy while viewing sport. Tribal psychology theory is often used to understand the emotional investment that sport fans place on their team. This theory is rooted in primitive times when ones tribe was relied on for protection and survival; to have your team win the big game is euphoric, but a loss results in disastrous consequences to loyal fans. In the case of sport viewing, it is more probable that the results of a game trigger emotion rather than emotion being a predictor of media consumption.
Through the analysis of the context behind mobile device behaviour we can begin to build a framework to categorise mobile users into segments based on their mood and use of technology, thereby aiding marketers to identify the best means of reaching consumers.