SocNets Get Growing Share of Smartphone App Time

April 30, 2012

flurry-daily-smartphone-app-consumption-q1-2011vsq1-2012-april2012.jpgSmartphone owners are spending more time with their applications on a daily basis, and social networking apps are the chief beneficiaries, says Flurry in an April 2012 report. Daily smartphone app consumption rose from an average of 68 minutes in Q1 2011 to 77 minutes in Q1 2012. During that period, time spent playing games remained relatively steady, dropping only marginally from 25 to 24 minutes, while consumption of social networking apps increased by 60%, from 15 to 24 minutes, to match games at 31% share of time spent. According to Flurry insight, this is the first time since it began tracking usage in 2008 that another category has rivaled games.

The remainder of the 77 minutes of daily time spent with mobile apps in Q1 2012 was divided up into news (12 minutes), entertainment (10 minutes) and other (7 minutes) apps.

SocNet Ad Revenue Overtakes Games

Flurry also looked at revenue earned by app publishers through ads, by examining data from its traffic acquisition network. The company found that publisher revenue grew by 23% from February to April (forecasting the remaining few days of April), with social networks and games accounting for almost three-quarters of the revenue in April. And while the gaming category remained steady throughout the 3 months at roughly 35-36% of revenue, the social networking category rose from about one-quarter of revenue in February and March to 37% in April, overtaking games. This marked the first time since Flurry began tracking the data in summer 2010 that any category has surpassed games in ad revenue generated.

App Ads Get Strong Recall, Clicks

Meanwhile, in-app ads appear to be gaining traction among app users, details Tapjoy [download page] in a report released in April 2012. The survey found that respondents estimated that about half of the apps they use are ad-supported. On average, they reported seeing about 6 ads per single use, rising to 7 among 25-34-year-olds.

Encouragingly for these advertisers, 70% of 18-24-year-olds and 66% of 25-34-year-olds report having ever seen an ad within a mobile app, with half of the latter group reporting having clicked on one of the ads.

Other Findings:

  • According to the Tapjoy report, 24% of app users say that while using an app, they have followed an ad or prompt to download another app.
  • 29% of app users have downloaded an app to earn a reward. 58% tried the app after they downloaded it, while 16% deleted it as soon as they received the reward, and 11% left the app on their device but never used it. Just 1 in 10 said they regularly used it after trying it. According to December 2011 survey results from Pontiflex, 37% of smartphone owners who have downloaded an application for an incentive, such as free social or game points, say that they redeemed the incentive and uninstalled the app, while a further 25% received the incentive and never use the app again.
  • Data from the Tapjoy report indicates that 68% of the 2,000 app users questioned would be very (32%) or somewhat (36%) interested in earning virtual currency. Roughly one-third of respondents said they would prefer to earn virtual currency rather than purchase it with real money, while 21% said they are open to viewing in-game ads to earn virtual currency or goods.
  • Tablet owners tended to own a greater proportion of paid to free apps than smartphone owners.
  • In related news, according to April 2012 data from Fiksu, the aggregate volume of downloads per day achieved by the top 200 ranked free iPhone apps in the US decreased to 4.45 million in March, a 30% drop from 6.35 million February. The cost per loyal user index, which measures the cost of acquiring a loyal user (who opens an app three times or more) for brands who proactively market their apps, remained steady at $1.30.

About the Data: The Flurry Q1 2011 data is based on approximately 30 million application sessions worldwide. The Q1 2012 data is based on approximately 110 billion application sessions. The Flurry ad network reaches over 300 million unique devices per month.

The Tapjoy data is based on a survey of 2,000 app users (smartphones and tablets), evenly split between males and females.

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