Comscore: Apps Now Account For Half Of All Digital Media Time

mobile-devices-trendsEven if you never looked at a single survey or piece of data you’d know that time spent with smartphones and tablets is growing dramatically, just from anecdotal experience.

However, there are multiple studies that have reported mobile devices drive more than 50 percent of internet time.

Digital metrics firm comScore now says that mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) “accounted for 60 percent of total digital media time spent” in May. More remarkably apps represent 51 percent of all digital media time. (Per comScore, apps constitute roughly 83 percent of mobile time spent; Nielsen says it’s closer to 90 percent.)

comscore mobile traffic

Perhaps even more striking than the general stats are vertical or content category data on mobile vs. PC time spent. For example, more than 70 percent of social networking time is spent on mobile devices and 90 percent of time with maps is spent on mobile.

comscore mobile vs. pc by category

These data don’t mean the “PC is dead.” But mobile is clearly the driver of user behavior across a wide range of categories.

Mobile advertising, though growing, is not keeping pace with consumer time shifting. Last year there were roughly $7 billion spent on mobile ads in the US. This year that could double to $14 billion (or more). Even if so, it would still fall short.

If ad spend and time spent were commensurate, ad revenue distribution in the US would look like this:

  • Total 2014 digital ad revenue projection for US: ~$49 billion
  • Mobile ad spend: $29 billion
  • PC ad spend: $20 billion

Most of that mobile spend would be directed to apps based on the fact that they’re the place that mobile consumers are most engaged. However, I suspect it will be at least 3 or 4 years (at least) before we see any sort of alignment between mobile time spent and digital ad spend.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile Marketing | Features & Analysis | Statistics: Market Share | Statistics: Mobile Marketing | Statistics: Online Advertising | Statistics: Online Behavior | Statistics: Popularity & Usage | Statistics: Spend Projections | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Steve Roy

    The gap between mobile usage and mobile ad spending is in part because mobile is delivering the experience most people expected and wanted from the Web: personal, convenient, not too many ads. Consumers flock to the best experiences and advertisers play catch up and fight to get in. It would be interesting to see advertisers instead create the experiences consumers want. And that’s the ad itself. Otherwise, the gap cycle repeats with whatever comes next.

  • fran farrell

    In three years, mobile usage will be up by 2.6x, mobile Apps will be sales-optimised and advertisers will finally understand how to optimise bids for time-place and device. Moreover there will be auditable conversion data for the entire path through time-space and device (ie. Nielsen ratings based on local-social Notes to self).

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