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Facebook And Social Media Rule The World Of Apps
New comScore report reveals a wide array of data about US mobile usage.
There are still people waiting for the demise of apps, as a “transitional” phenomenon. They’ll be waiting a long time. If anything mobile apps are gaining momentum as consumers spend increasing amounts of time on smartphones and tablets.
The U.S. Mobile App Report, released today by comScore, lays out an array of high-level statistics about app and mobile web usage in the U.S. Though many of these individual datapoints have been previously released in blog posts, it’s very helpful to see them compiled in one report. (All the following charts are from the comScore report.)
As discussed many times in comScore’s monthly smartphone reports, Facebook is the number one app both in terms of audience reach and engagement. Propelled by Facebook, the social networking category claims the largest share of app time spent. That’s followed by games and radio (mostly Pandora).
Google has repeatedly said that mobile is additive to the PC and not cannibalizing desktop usage. The answer is somewhat more complex, with some actions and lookups shifting to mobile (e.g., maps).
The comScore data, however, do support the idea that there’s now more internet time overall. As the chart below indicates PC time has remained stable and growth has come in the form of app and mobile web usage.
Despite a recent outlier report from Burst Media the weight of evidence is that mobile users overwhelmingly spend time in apps, although the mobile web browser has greater reach than apps. Tablets have a slightly higher percentage of mobile browser usage, given their larger screens and more PC-like behavior patterns.
Perhaps the report’s most striking stat, also previously released, is the following: 60 percent of all digital media time is now spent on mobile and 52 percent of that is spent within apps. The remaining 40 percent goes to the PC.
While some marketers reject the Mary Meeker “time spent should equal ad spend” formula, if ad spend were in alignment with time spent, 2014 US digital ad revenues would probably look a lot like this:
- Total digital ad spend in the US: $50 billion
- Mobile ad spend: $30 billion
- PC ad spend: $20 billion
Regardless, we’ll likely see north of $15 billion in mobile ad revenue this year in the US. That’s impressive vs. just two years ago but still only half of the number suggested by the “time spent” formula.
A comparison of app users on iOS and Android reveals a very similar profile. There are more Android users and iOS users are more affluent. But the audiences look pretty similar otherwise.
A final point to make is that mobile usage is highly concentrated among a small number of high profile apps. The implications are pretty striking. On the PC the “top 50” sites dominate; on the mobile web roughly half number (or fewer) see major consumer adoption and reach. This means, among other things, a concentration of ad revenue in relatively few publisher hands going forward.
There are many additional charts and data in the full report, which can be downloaded here.