A Marketer’s Guide to How People Spend Time on Mobile Devices
Simon Hill | June 25, 2013
People are spending more and more time on mobile devices and the statistics reveal some important lessons for marketers about where to focus their efforts most effectively. If we take a look at Flurry’s analysis of time spent on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets we find that apps account for 80 percent. That app category includes games as the largest entry, but if we combine Facebook and social networking we’re looking at 26 percent of the total time spent, and at 20 percent the browser share is still not insignificant.
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You may feel that the dominance of apps, and the fact that more and more mobile devices can handle full version websites, negates the need for mobile optimization. You may feel sinking funds into developing an app is the best way to go. A Compuware study that found 85% of users prefer mobile apps to mobile websites would appear to back that idea up, but beware, because the same study found that 79% of people will only give an app one or two tries, and if it doesn’t meet expectations they’ll never use it again.
The right approach is obviously website optimization and an app, but if you aren’t going to make sure that the app offers a faster, better experience than the website then don’t bother with it, because people won’t use it.
iOS or Android
The news may be awash with stories about Android’s dominance in terms of overall market share, but there are two stats that should give you pause before you make Android a priority. First of all, take a look at the Mobile Share category at Net Market Share and you’ll see that iOS devices running Safari account for around 60 percent of the traffic.
What about apps? Well, if we take a look data from Canalys for the first quarter of 2013 we find that iOS accounts for 74 percent of download revenue compared to Android’s 20 percent.
It would seem that iOS users spend more time browsing the web on their devices and they spend more money on apps. This revelation is rendered even more important in our next section.
Tablet or smartphone
According to some interesting analysis from Adobe Digital Index, websites worldwide now get more traffic from tablets than they do from smartphones. People browse 70 percent more web pages per visit on a tablet and they behave more like PC users. Retail conversion rates, at 2.2% on tablets, are three times higher than smartphones (0.7%), though they still lag behind traditional PC conversion rates (3.3%). Most people use smartphones for price checks or to find store locations, but they do detailed comparisons and actually pull the trigger and buy on tablets or PCs.
An Ecommerce Quarterly report from Monetate gives tablets a 10.58% share of website traffic compared to 10.44% for smartphones. Of that 10.58% for tablets the iPad accounted for 89.28% in the first quarter of 2013.
Many retailers are reporting that conversion rates through their apps are higher on tablets than they are on traditional desktops or laptops. As marketers understand how to engage consumers, and tablet optimized apps provide a better experience, we can expect that trend to grow.
The way people use their mobile devices marks some important changes for marketers. Flurry took a look at iOS device users and the average time they spent on various activities throughout the day. They found that, while there’s a natural increase in activity in the evening, apps are used 24/7 and that people will shop and engage with social media on their smartphones and tablets at all times.
Opportunities for engagement through apps, social media, and mobile optimized websites have never been greater, and a focus on tablets, especially the iPad, should give you the best ROI.