In its 2016 U.S. Mobile App Report, global measurement and analytics company comScore examines smartphone usage among adults 18 years and older. The findings reveal mobile’s impact on digital media time, including consumption and user behavior. Read on to learn about highlights from the report and to find out what your organization can take away from those results.
It’s official: Mobile is our device of choice for navigating the internet. Since 2013, digital media consumption on mobile devices has steadily grown as time spent on desktop computers has been in decline. Today, mobile accounts for two-thirds of all media minutes, and a majority of that time—60 percent—is spent in mobile apps. comScore credits the convenience of mobile devices and app innovations for this shift in consumption.
Mobile has also played a significant role in the growth of internet usage with smartphones leading the charge. Smartphones were responsible for 80 percent of internet usage growth between June 2013 and June 2016.
In the past year, smartphone app usage has grown across all age groups, with the biggest leap—37 percent—among 55-64 year-olds. It may be of no surprise that 18-44 years-old spend over half their internet time in smartphone apps; however, many older users are getting close to those same levels. It was found that 45-54 year-olds and 55-64 year-olds spend 45 percent and 43 percent of their online time in apps respectively.
On the other hand, tablet usage across all age brackets is declining, with the biggest drop, 35 percent, among 35-44 year olds. The decline in usage of these devices is due to the growing popularity of “phablets,” aka large screen smartphones.
When the top 1,000 mobile apps and the top 1,000 mobile web properties went head-to-head, it was found that the mobile web had three times as many unique visitors as mobile apps; however, app users displayed dramatically higher engagement levels. The average time spent in apps by users was nearly 20 times that spent on the mobile web.
Over half the time spent in apps is for entertainment content and communication, and the fastest growing apps are ones that improve real-world behaviors (e.g. Uber providing a safer and easier way to catch a ride.)
The way we consume information continues to evolve. In the past few years, smartphone apps have had a significant impact on internet usage, which underscores the importance of convenience and access to information on-the-go. With a mobile app strategy in place, you’ll give your users what they want and need—the ability to access information anytime, anywhere.
The comScore data also shows that mobile isn’t a fad among Millennials. Organizations no longer need worry that a mobile app strategy won’t be effective among older employees. Users across all age groups want convenience, and they’ve embraced smartphone apps as the primary way to go online.
The study emphasizes the fact that apps are extremely effective for audience loyalty; however, this isn’t an automatic. Organizations must have an app strategy in place that will cultivate user engagement.
Here are a few keys to success:
- Develop an app that is useful and engaging. A workplace app, for instance, would help employees become more productive by integrating third-party tools such as room reservations, Slack, and transit schedules. It would provide employees with relevant and interesting information including company news, event calendars, social media feeds, and food truck schedules.
- An app must be well promoted. It’s not enough to depend on the app store listing alone; traditional marketing tactics should be used as well. If promoting a workplace app, create a dedicated landing page on your company website, send emails from the senior team, include posters and fliers around the office, and utilize word-of-mouth promotions from “app ambassadors.”
- Finally, keep your users coming back for more. Fresh content is essential for success. Not only that, alerts should be used to point users to that information. Push notifications, in-app banners, QR codes, and proximity-based beacons are all effective methods to encourage app opens.
It is clear from the comScore report that smartphone apps have surpassed the trend phase—they’re an essential part of how we conduct our day-to-day lives. Now it’s time for organizations to recognize that this behavior isn’t going away and to integrate apps in their engagement strategies.
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