Those fingers are flying over mobile keyboards with people now spending, on average, 94 minutes per day using mobile applications, according to analytics firm Flurry. Meanwhile, web consumption, on both desktop and mobile devices, has started to show a slight decrease.
The interesting thing about this data is that the most recent growth in mobile apps usage hasn’t really been at the expense of browsing the everyday, traditional web. People have just been using mobile apps more. Take a look for yourself.
Flurry tracked anonymous sessions across more than 140,000 applications and compared that data against web data from comScore and Alexa. Since the firm’s initial report in June, mobile app usage has increased by 13 minutes a day, while web consumption dipped slightly from 74 minutes/day in June 2011 to 72 minutes/day in December 2011.
What Are Mobile App Users Doing?
Gaming and Facebooking, of course. Games (49 percent) and social networking apps (30 percent) combined to account for almost 80 percent of all time spent in mobile applications, according to Flurry’s analysis. Entertainment and news followed with 7% and 6%, respectively.
"The growing chasm between mobile app usage and web consumption will only be exacerbated by mobile device purchases in 2012. We estimate that the cumulative number of iOS and Android devices activated will surge past 1 billion,” Flurry senior marketing manager Charles Newark-French said. “According to IDC, over 800 million PCs were sold between 1981 and 2000, making the rate of iOS and Android smart device adoption more than four times faster than that of personal computers.”
The growth in mobile apps usage is not coming at the expense of web browsing, which means people are doing everything they always did on mobile phones -- text, check their email, look up websites -- and still finding enough value in apps that they opt to use them on top of their regular browsing activity. So it makes sense that you would capitalize on this growth by creating a mobile app for your business, right?
Not necessarily. To justify the cost of creating a mobile app, you need to ensure it's sticky. After all, what's the point of creating a mobile app that nobody uses? So if you have limited time, resources, or ideas for a valuable mobile app, the best thing you can focus on is optimizing your website for mobile web browsing. Again, the rise of mobile app usage does not come at the expense of web browsing, which is taking place on desktops and mobile devices alike. Failing to mobile optimize your website can hurt your bottom line; but if your site is mobile optimized, the absence of a mobile app won't damage your business if site activities can still be easily performed via mobile web browsing.
If you've mastered optimization of your website and emails, you should certainly put time into considering how your business can provide value via a mobile app. Consult this list of B2B mobile app ideas for some inspiration, and remember that if you jump on the mobile app bandwagon now, you will likely be ahead of the curve in your industry. With that timing and a quality app that people will actually use, you can enjoy quick adoption rates and increased brand engagement. Just make sure you don't rush a subpar app to market; provide a great user experience so your customers don't download your app, use it once, and abandon it to return to their regular mobile browsing activities.
Is your website mobile optimized? Have you created or started the process of creating a mobile app for your business?
Originally published Jan 17, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016