Popularity of mobile web diminishes as native apps capture more usage
Flurry has taken a look at the popularity of the mobile web versus native apps – and the mobile web is losing out steadily to native apps.
The company’s blog shares the freshest-of-fresh data, which was compiled from January to March 2014. The data is unequivocal: apps are winning in a huge way, and advertisers are still mismatching spend to account for this popularity.
Time spent on a mobile device by the average US consumer has risen to 2 hrs and 42 minutes per day from 2 hrs and 38 minutes per day in March of 2013. Apps continued to cement their lead, and commanded 86% of the average US mobile consumer’s time, or 2 hrs and 19 minutes per day.
Time spent on the mobile web continued to decline and averaged just 14% of the US mobile consumer’s time, or 22 minutes per day.
Apps are simply trouncing the competition, which is something that some would not have predicted a few years ago when apps were seen mostly as too limiting.
The argument against apps is basically that the user must download and then open a specific app, and all activity must remain in that closed ecosystem. The promise of the mobile web is that it’s responsive, and does not require any work on the user’s part besides typing in the web address.
Here’s a visual of the data according to Flurry, showing the one year drop of 6% in time spent on mobile web:
When broken down into categories of time spent, gaming continues to be the most widely used application for smartphones.
When compared to last year, gaming time spent was static, while social and messaging apps like Facebook saw an increase of 4% and productivity apps doubled from 2% to 4%.
The overall fragmentation of attention represented by this graphic is still a reality faced by marketers as a whole – there’s so much competing for attention that it can be hard to decide where to deploy marketing dollars.
Travel marketers must look carefully at that time spent on Facebook (including Instagram). Second only to gaming, US smartphone users are spending a lot of time on the platform. With time spent every day on apps coming in at 2 hours 19 minutes, that’s nearly 24 minutes spent on Facebook each day by the average American consumer.
There’s simply no other platform that guarantees such engagement and daily eyeballs on mobile – according to these statistics, Twitter only ekes out 1.5%/2 minutes of daily usage.
Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp will allow it to build share in the social messaging category, while now moving on to the next platform – virtual reality. With the acquisiton of virtual reality headset maker Occulus, Zuckerberg said the company feels more comfortable with its mobile positioning and can now “start focusing on what platforms will come next to enable even more useful, entertaining and personal experiences.”
This only means that Facebook will continue pushing the platform boundaries, theoretically delivering a continued return on investment for those that invest marketing dollars to capture mindshare on the platform. Now that the Facebook ecosystem has the potential to move to an on-the-head, in-your-face existence, there’s a whole new world emerging in the next 5 years.
Finally, the Flurry team pulls in eMarketer data to show just how mismatched advertisers’ deployment of advertising is.
While Google only sees 18% of the usage, it enjoys 49% of the advertising. Facebook is pretty evenly matched, likely due to the cross-platform ease-of-use of its advertising product.
Another opportunity exists in advertising across other apps not in the largest categories – of course, fragmentation creates a challenge for straightforward, effective deployment, but also could reveal some riches in the process.
NB: Mobile phone image courtesy Shutterstock.
Nick Vivion was a senior reporter for Tnooz from August 2012 to July 2015.