July 15, 2024

The prediction that mobile web use would overtake apps has been disproved by data from analytics firm Flurry that shows games and Facebook driving up app use instead

Facebook and WhatsApp apps on a smartphone
Apps like Facebook and WhatsApp are gathering far more use from users than time on the mobile web. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

The idea that people will shift from using native apps on their smartphones to using HTML5 websites offering the same functionality hasn’t played out, according to the analytics company Flurry.

Instead, US consumers” use of mobile web sites has dropped by almost a quarter, from an average of 31 minutes daily in March 2013 to 22 minutes a year later.

That has come even as people are spending longer on their phones – up on average to 2h42m per day compared to 2h38m in March 2013 – and that they spend even longer using apps rather than the mobile web.

According to Flurry’s data, app use grew from 80% of peoples’ phone use – 2h6m daily – to 86%, or 2h19m. Mobile web use dropped from 31m to 22m, as measured for the study by another research company, ComScore.

The findings are also significant because the US has had high-speed 4G connectivity for at least two years from multiple mobile networks – which would indicate that connection speed would not be an obstacle to the use of mobile web apps.

Flurry’s data, collected from millions of users’ smartphones, shows that gaming is the biggest single category of use, with 32% of peoples’ time on average, followed by Facebook (17%). Other social messaging including Twitter comprises 11%, followed by YouTube (4%). News apps take up 3% of peoples’ time spent on the device.

Time spent in various apps and mobile browser
Time spent by US consumers in app types and on mobile browsers. Source: Flurry. Photograph: /PR

Flurry commented: “Both Google and Facebook have very well established franchises on mobile, but the market is still very fragmented. In fact, Google and Facebook combined probably command less than 25% of the total time spent by the average US mobile consumer. In addition the top ten franchises, according to ComScore, account for less than 40% of the time-spent. So despite massive efforts by Google and Facebook, the market still hasn’t consolidated and over the past couple of years we have seen new franchises emerge in almost every sector of mobile.”

For Google, the indifference of smartphone users to the mobile web in favour of apps presents a problem because in general it cannot follow users’ activity inside apps, unlike the situation where someone is logged into a Google account while they use a desktop browser. The search company has begun an initiative offering links to in-app content for Android developers which it will be able to index.

But Flurry found good news for Google: far more mobile advertising money is spent with it than time is spent on its products. It calculates that although people spend about 18% of smartphone time in Google properties such as YouTube or in browsers where it can show ads, it received 49% of mobile ad spending, according to eMarketer, a research company.

Ad spend on mobile related to time
Ad spending on mobile compared to time spent. Source: Flurry, eMarketer. Photograph: /PR

By contrast Facebook receives 18% of mobile ad spending – while people spend about 17% of their time on its mobile properties. “Other” apps are losing out, Flurry suggested: “the rest of the apps, including gaming apps, are simply not getting their fair share of advertising spent. [They] command 65% of time spent, but only receive 32% of ad revenue.”

Flurry concludes that “one thing is clear – apps have won and the mobile browser is taking a back seat. Now every company in the world including Google is adjusting to that reality.”

Article Source : https://www.theguardian.com/technology/appsblog/2014/apr/02/apps-more-popular-than-the-mobile-web-data-shows