How Facebook Users React to Lost Phones, and How Brands Should

How do Facebook users react when they lose their mobile phones, and how can marketers react, in turn? Facebook IQ has the numbers.

How do Facebook users react when they lose their mobile phones, and how can marketers react, in turn? Facebook IQ has the numbers.

According to the social network’s insights arm, in an average month, more than 51 million posts, comments, likes and shares are related to users discussing lost phones, and Facebook IQ added:

The volume is not only significant, but it’s also consistent—people are posting regularly, every day of the week. Facebook is, in a sense, “lost phone central.”


Facebook IQ also pointed out that more than 75 percent of posts about lost phones are composed on other mobile devices, such as second phones, tablets, phones belonging to friends or strangers or their own new phones. That figure jumps to more than 85 percent for millennials.


Posts about lost phones receive more than double the comments of average posts, and Facebook IQ discussed how the social network functions as a support group for users undergoing this experience:

When people post about losing their phone, the posts are overwhelmingly (and understandably) negative. But the comments that people post in response are primarily positive. This implies that people are coming to Facebook to express their frustration, but the support they get from their friends on Facebook often transforms the conversation into a more positive one, as the newly #phoneless find they are much less alone than they feel.

Most of the “lost phone” conversation is driven by words that describe where and how it all happened and what device is being considered next. However, one word stands out from the rest. Somewhere between “ughhh” and “phoneless,” the word “Samaritan” appears. Separate from the discussion of logistics, devices and retailers, “Samaritan” hints at stories of desperation transformed into elation—all thanks to a stranger’s kindness.


How should marketers react? Facebook IQ offered the following takeaways:

  • Be a constant beacon: While people do visit Facebook throughout their “lost phone” moment, they also tend to move quickly once the loss is discovered. And because the “lost phone” moment is ongoing (people are always losing and talking about their phones), brands may want to take an “always on” approach to fully leverage it. For example, by creating an online resource for the newly phoneless and messaging around the ongoing “lost phone” conversation, brands can build up the goodwill that will lead to advocacy the next time someone asks their friends and family which phone or carrier to consider next.
  • Be a modern-day Samaritan: Moments that nearly everyone experiences—such as losing a phone or moving—are opportunities for brands to connect with a broad range of audiences in personally meaningful ways. The key is identifying the moments in which a brand can authentically help and uplift people—whether that means showing empathy, making light of the situation or offering practical solutions.
  • Be as mobile-first as your audience: The fact that most people find a way to post about their lost phones from another mobile device is perhaps the ultimate insight into how essential mobile has become to people today. For many, mobile is the primary and preferred means for connecting with the world. Brands intent on staying relevant will want to plan to leverage mobile in a way that reflects the mindset and behaviors of a mobile-first society.

Readers: Have you ever shared your “lost phone” experiences on Facebook?

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