The Key to Unlocking the Value of a Phone's Lockscreen

The "surface economy" is the solution to the tsunami of mobile content

People today are exposed to 12,000 hours of new video content every day, and the discovery journey to watch a YouTube video can take up to eight clicks.

It starts with unlocking the phone, scrolling through your apps, firing up the YouTube app, searching the app, scrolling to find the desired video, playing the video, waiting until you can skip the ads, to finally watching the video. 

The time has come in mobile’s evolution to unlock the content experience for all, and to enable entertainment, news and game publishers—as well as the media industry as a whole—to meet consumers where they are: glancing at their smartphone’s lockscreen surface. 

The surface economy is the future

The industry is at an inflection point in history when the average person spends five hours per day on their phone (for Zillennials and GenZ that number is even higher). Yet, sifting through the tsunami of content has become a daunting, never-ending search-and-sort ordeal. 

As such, the challenge for media companies, publishers, and app and game developers just got a lot harder.

Yes, you must invent and build a sticky experience. You must invest in building a meaningful audience. You must build loyalty to keep them coming back. But now you also need to enable organic discovery and make it easy for people to “try before they buy.” You must unlock your content to deliver instant gratification. 
For example:  

  • Discovery: Content must feel organic (in other words go find your people where they are). 
  • Engagement: Make it seamless, quick and easy, offering instant gratification. 
  • Retention and loyalty: This must be built into the experience from the start, giving you the ability to get in front of people every time they check their phone—144 times per day.

The lockscreen—and close relative the homescreen—are emerging from being underutilized real estate relegated to basic utility to what can be called “The Surface Economy.”

This current wave of mobile innovation is empowering media publishers and the entertainment industry to provide a new and unprecedented level of intuitive functionality as well as customizable and frictionless experiences that look like TV but act like mobile.  

For advertisers, these surfaces support high-impact creative that captures 100 percent of people’s attention. As inventory, they offer mass reach like TV but perform like mobile. 

Surfaces obviate wasted time as well as the need to search or download apps. They offer pre-loaded but opt-in phone experiences that make it fast and easy to access the rich volume of content we’ve all come to expect from the media ecosystem. 

Connect at a glance

Leveraging locksceens also reduces the chaos and clutter of regular mobile web browsing. It provides a natural extension of the homescreen, wherein news, sports, banking and finance, games, entertainment, and video can more easily be consumed by everyone as curated, sharable experiences.  

And there’s no turning back from that. 

That’s why InMobi created an entirely new platform that brings compelling content, games and experiences to the lockscreens of Android phones. This lockscreen experience unlocks games, breaking news, media and other immersive experiences for consumers, setting them free from the eight taps that it otherwise takes consumers to find content buried inside apps. 

Already, InMobi has seen the popularity of surfaces in mobile-first markets like Asia-Pacific and Latin America. Creators are working to leverage lockscreen and homescreen experiences to connect immediately with consumers when they glance at or unlock their phones.

Abhay Singhal is a co-founder of InMobi and the CEO of InMobi Advertising Platform, a leading provider of marketing and monetization technologies. Abhay drives the company’s global business, enabling the world’s leading brands to reach billions of people around the world.