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March 18, 2014

Mobility and March Madness-Perfect Together

I realize that many of our loyal readers do not reside in the United States but my suspicion is that nearly everyone is aware that the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championships here are about to start, which means for the next few weeks most Americans will be consumed with what is commonly known as “March Madness.”

The “madness” in this case refers not to an issue of anger management but rather to a literally round-the-clock preoccupation with game results as young and old follow their favorites to see how the various betting pools they are in are fairing. Indeed, when it comes to wagering it does not get any bigger. It also represents a time of the year when attention deficit disorder for those in the workplace is likely at its highest. The silver lining is that management is just as engaged as anyone else, including participation in the office pool, and understands.

As my colleague Monica Gleberman pointed out in her piece on the amount of streamed content that will be viewable from anywhere at any time this year that options have exploded. It is expected total hours of streamed video will reach 18 million, a healthy almost 30 percent increase over last year. This number is likely to actually be higher.  Billionaire Warren Buffett, who likes to gamble, is acting as the insurer of a Quicken Loans pool on Yahoo! where one person (out of the 15 million entrants that are being allowed to participate) who successfully picks the winner of every single game in the tournament will win $1 billion. While the odds of doing so are beyond astronomical, and nobody has even come close, the fact that the top 20 entries will win $100,000 is sure to drive viewing even higher.     

Taking this analysis a step further, Mountain View, CA-based cloud and mobile testing solutions provider SOASTA has released the results of its March Madness Second Screen Survey. The company commissioned Harris Poll to conduct the study online among 2,040 US adults ages 18 and older to highlight the importance of websites and mobile app performance during the NCAA Division I basketball tournament. Some of the findings should be a warning to service providers so that anger management does not become their issue.

It is all about the user experience

SOASTA discovered that 26 percent of smartphone/tablet owners who follow March Madness fear problems with websites and/or mobile sites will prevent them from enjoying it. There is even a generational difference that popped up as 18-34 years olds (38 percent) were more likely to be concerned about web and mobile sites not working than those ages 35 and up (19 percent).

Back to the disruptive power of the event, SOASTA also said fears over websites and apps not working is a problem because over half (51 percent) of employed respondents plan to check apps on their smartphone or tablet for March Madness updates at work. More than two in five (41 percent) expect to check apps for tournament updates more than once while at work, while 13 percent plan to check apps for the latest scores as many ten or more times during the tournament.

Some other findings included:

During the workday, those that follow March Madness on their mobile device plan to sneak-a-peek of the tournament at the following times:

  • During breaks – 74 percent
  • During downtime – 63 percent
  • While eating – 61 percent
  • When commuting to/from work – 27 percent
  • During conference calls – 14 percent
  • During meetings – 12 percent
  • While receiving a performance review – 4 percent
  • While their boss is talking – 3 percent
  • While giving an employee a performance review – 2 percent

When asked how smartphone/tablet apps make March Madness a better experience, fans cited the following ways:

  • Live updates – 41 percent
  • Makes brackets mobile (i.e., easier to manage) – 29 percent
  • Easily access team and player information – 27 percent
  • Provides important facts such as injury reports - 19 percent
  • Ease of multitasking while keeping track of the tournament while at work – 18 percent
  • Easier to connect with peers and other fans following the tournament – 15 percent
  • Easier to gloat about the successes of their bracket – 15 percent
  • Allows users to gamble from anywhere – 8 percent

In addition, nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of smartphone/tablet owning March Madness fans plan to use at least two types of devices simultaneously to follow the tournament, including some combination of smartphone, television, laptop, tablet, and desktop PCs.

Fifty-four percent of employed millennial men smartphone/tablet users (aged 18-34) plan to check apps during work and 45 percent of men and women in that age group plan to do so. Surprisingly, millennial male smartphone/tablet users are more likely to say apps allow them to gamble from anywhere (7 percent) than men age 45-64 (1 percent).

SOASTA’s data backs up its January findings showing that second screen has become an essential component of the experience when following sports, especially among younger demographics.

I have my picks ready. Do you? Remember you have to be in it to win it.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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