Apps Dominate Android User Time

June 23, 2011

nielsen-android-breakdown-apr-11-june-2011.JPGApps dominate the time users of Android smartphones spend with their devices, according to data from The Nielsen Company. Nielsen analysis indicates that in April 2011, Android users spent 56% of their daily smartphone time with apps.

Messaging Beats Phone Calls

Interestingly, the activity that Android smartphone users spent the second-largest amount of time performing was email and messaging, which took up 19% of their daily time. Placing actual phone calls came in third, accounting for 15% of daily smartphone time. Phone calls were followed by time spent on a web browser (9%), with camera activity only accounting for 1% of daily smartphone time.

Organic Discovery Less Likely for Brand Apps

nielsen-app-discovery-june-2011.JPGSmartphone users are much less likely to discover brand apps via organic methods than they are to discover overall apps organically. For example, smartphone users discovery 45% of all apps through friends and family, 61% more often than the 28% of brand apps they discover this way.

Similarly, smartphone users only discover 21% of brand apps by searching an app store on their phone, while they are 2.8 times more likely to discover all apps this way (58%).

Brand apps are conversely more likely to be discovered through ad-based means. Smartphone users discover 15% of brand apps via TV ads, almost double the 8% of all apps they discover this way. Another 13% of brand apps are discovered via newspaper/magazine/radio ads, 30% more than the 10% of all apps discovered through these channels.

Other Findings

  • Apps that “give back” are much more popular than other apps, with rewards apps particularly popular.
  • Word of mouth is the most common form of discovery for branded apps.
  • Consumers indicated that brand affinity and third party endorsements in the form of ratings and reviews were crucial in their decision to download a branded app.

Define App Success In Advance

Nielsen offers the following pointers in developing a successful smartphone app:

  • Define success in advance, answering questions such as who are you trying to reach,what are you trying to achieve, and what are the right metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPI).
  • Apps can support a strategy, but are not a strategy in and of themselves.
  • Give consumers something useful, such as price comparisons, stain removal tips, recipes, weather updates.
  • Protect the brand: A great app can revitalize a brand, a “buggy” one will destroy it.

Apps Drive Data Growth

Previous Nielsen analysis indicates that growth in 89% year-over-year growth in Q1 2011 smartphone data usage is clearly being driven by app-friendly operating systems like Apple iOS and Google Android. Consumers with iPhones and Android smartphones consume the most data: 582 MBs per month for the average Android owner and 492 MBs for the average iPhone user.

Also of note, Windows Phone 7 users doubled their usage during the past two quarters, which Nielsen says is perhaps due to growth in the number of applications available.

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