July 5, 2012
Mobile apps or the mobile Web? It’s a question that many an analyst has answered, and a question that may come to mind for marketers deciding on how to stake out a mobile presence. Whatever the answer, all signs point to mobile apps, or so it seems, according to new data released last week from eMarketer on mobile app versus mobile Web usage and Localytics on app retention.
eMarketer’s data shows that as of March of 2012, users’ time spent on mobile apps has increased 135%, whereas time spent on the mobile Web has increased by only 44%. Meanwhile, Localytics’ data shows that app retention has increased 19% over the last year. What could possibly be keeping consumers fixated on mobile apps? It could be due to the larger variety of mobile apps being released leading to consumers spending more time on more apps–meaning as a whole, users may be spending smaller amounts of time but on much more mobile apps. Another thought to keep in mind is that users who download apps have enough interest in the app to download it intentionally, whereas mobile sites visitors are more likely to be visiting mobile sites just casually.
What does this mean for mobile? Well, the fact that consumers are spending more time on mobile apps than on the mobile Web tells us that in-app advertising is seeing a lot more revenue coming through (as opposed to a year ago), as well as in comparison to mobile Web-based display advertising. User attention is being further divided among a growing number of apps as well as the mobile Web. However, even though U.S. Android and iOS users are spending much more time on apps than on the mobile Web as a whole, this may not necessarily mean releasing a mobile app would be the best way for all marketers to initiate a mobile presence. Whether marketers engage their target audience with mobile apps or mobile-optimized sites or both, it is becoming increasingly important for marketers to create truly unique and engaging mobile experiences to effectively capture consumers’ attention.
Based on the charts above, below are some key highlights and takeaways I think are important for mobile marketers & advertisers to consider.
- Consumers’ time spent on mobile apps has more than doubled in a 12 month time frame, even though there are only 24 hours in a day
- Time spent on the mobile Web has remained relatively steady between March 2011 and March 2012
- Users are now spending four times more minutes on apps than on the mobile Web
- Forty-two percent of users’ time spent on mobile apps is divided amongst all other apps not in the top 50 (read: hundreds of other apps)
- For those looking to drive loyalty through mobile, mobile apps may be the way to go
- In-app advertising revenues may have doubled in a 12-month timeframe, and is set to increase on whole as more apps are released
- Marketers may see more customer loyalty from users of their mobile apps than from their mobile site visitors
- As users’ attention is divided among more apps, marketers not only need to get users to download their apps, but their apps also need to effectively engage consumers