The statistic that the typical smartphone user spends about 37 hours in apps every single month has been circulating for a while now, but exactly which apps are used most often is a more interesting topic. Forrester tracked the app use of almost 2000 adult smartphone users in the U.S. during the three-month period ending in December 2014 and found that 12% of their time was spent in Google and 13% in Facebook, making the two of them far and away more popular than any other company out there.
The mass acceptance and usage of these apps have huge implications for business and their marketing plans and programs. Advertisements placed in just these two mobile apps are very big business. Some industry forecasts predict that advertisers are now spending over $20 billion a year in mobile app ads, compared to an estimate of almost $8 billion for mobile Web browser ads. Facebook and Google combined take up one of every four minutes U.S. users spend on mobile devices. Incredible!
It appears that Google is still the leader in the space because its Android platform is so pervasive, and it has a diverse assortment of apps, such as Gmail, Chrome and YouTube, which accounts for more than 10 percent of total time the survey respondents spent on their smartphones, but some of the things Facebook has in the works makes them a growing competitor. Facebook knows their audience very well, and they are well placed to be able to cater to their users’ needs and desires.
Google is very good at monetizing their apps, so the more they can get people to use their smartphone apps, the more revenue and usage they will generate. As both companies improve the content and delivery of their mobile ads, the two companies continue to become a segment of mobile commerce that advertisers ignore at their peril. Regardless of which company ultimately comes out ahead in mobile app usage, it appears that both of them are successfully getting the attention of smartphone users and effectively serving up mobile ads.
In comparison to the two biggest players the remaining major mobile providers, including Apple, Amazon, Yahoo, Microsoft and eBay, only get between 1 percent and 3 percent of U.S. smartphone users’ time. Niche social apps such as Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn have a devoted cadre of users and command large audiences in key categories but they have not as yet been able to branch out beyond their core users, according to Forrester.
Forrester posits that the total time users spend on each service and the revenue they generate are important, but that Facebook and Google measure their power by how many minutes a user spends inside an app on their smartphone, which provides them with priceless data that they collect during those minutes. The name of the game is to understand the audience, understand the data, and monetize those assets.