Nielsen: Apps Consume 90% Of Smartphone Time Online

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

Q4-Cross-Platform-report-page-imageThe mobile web has become undeniably important to the everyday lives of American. As mobile devices become more prevalent and powerful, many people have a choice when deciding how to consume their favorite media. For example, Google and Facebook released a report earlier in March that said “more than 60 percent of online adults in the US use at least two devices everyday and almost one quarter use three devices.” However, a new study from Nielsen suggests that much of the time on mobile devices is being spent on apps. This post will examine that research and what it means for marketers.

Based on data from the fourth quarter of 2013, the study noted that during the average month, a typical US consumer spends 89 percent of their smartphone time on apps and 11 percent on the mobile browsers. The study also noted that women were greatly outpacing men when it came to the consumption of mobile media.

“When looking at U.S. smartphone users, women win the battle of the sexes in terms of time spent on media via apps and the mobile Web,” the authors stated in a press release. “In fact, while all smartphone users spent 89 percent of their mobile media time in Q4 2013 using mobile apps, women spent nearly an hour-and-a-half more than men using mobile apps.”

Apps also dominated the usage of tablets as well, though not as much. Just over 80 percent of tablet time is spent with apps compared to 19 percent using their mobile browser. Since tablets have bigger screens, using traditional websites is more enjoyable than on smartphones.

There are a couple of things that business owners should glean from this data. First, even if a large portion of mobile web time is spent on apps, some is spent searching the mobile web. If a company doesn’t have a mobile-optimized site, that ends up being a wasted opportunity.

Second, it’s important to remember that the most popular apps are social media apps and video apps like Netflix and Hulu. Businesses should already be using social media marketing, so in a sense they will already be viewable by people who are using social media apps on their mobile devices. And since most businesses don’t compete with Netflix or Hulu, there’s nothing lost by people using those apps to pass the time.

As long as people continue to use mobile devices and the mobile internet, mobile marketing will be important for business owners. According to an eMarketer survey, people spend about one fifth of their day on the mobile web. Being able to capture just a portion of that would be good for a marketing department. Be sure that your business is using mobile marketing and social media marketing so this opportunity doesn’t pass your company by.


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