Mobile Dayparts Are A Function Of Time, Content And Circumstance

We have all heard the basic stats giving the lie to mobile being, well, mobile. In fact, a lot of device use is occurring in the home rather than that proverbial and perennially targeted “on-the-go” use case. But one has to wonder if the at-home use case is becoming even more prevalent as we offload ever more from the desktop.

For instance, according to new metrics from Strategy Analytics’ AppOptix platform, the plurality of Android smartphone use --  39% -- occurs between 5 p.m. and midnight. Considering the swath of time Strategy Analytics is lumping together here, the math is not too surprising. The other dayparts have much lower levels of engagement, measured as time spent. Analyzing app use across the day, the early morning midnight to 8 a.m. period sees about 17% of use, while the rest of the morning -- 8 to noon -- makes up 18%. The afternoon daypart from noon to 5 p.m. represents the second-largest chunk of app engagement, at 26% of all time spent.

The breakdown makes some sense on a number of levels. The evening commute and prime-time hours simply allow for more total time spent. I wouldn’t be surprised if the daytime parts saw more numerous app opens for shorter spans of time than the evening hours.

In fact, app engagement is not just a function of daypart but of category during a certain daypart. Strategy Analytics reports that the news, weather and sports categories peak in app engagement when users open them in the early morning. Interestingly, the communications category, which I imagine includes messaging and chat apps, gets the best engagement in the afternoon. And both gaming and social apps peak in the evening.

This all underscores the new complexity that mobility introduces into media buying. You are not just targeting content as a proxy for audience anymore. Nor are you targeting people in the way that digital advertising and behavioral tracking allows. You are targeting discrete moments in people’s lives and specific media experiences.

Life is the new media.

We will be coming at this these themes in a few ways at the fifth annual Mobile Insider Summit in Lake Tahoe, Aug. 17-20. I am spinning out the “Context is King” theme of the show in a few different directions. We will be looking at how the customer journey itself is being reshaped by mobility. In the context of the retail environment we will be looking at how proximity marketing, iBeacons and such can be built to render richer shopping data. Another panel looks at media buying aimed at the mobilized shopper and when, where and how messaging on handsets best drives people to the store or online purchase. And we will also be spending much of the third day of the Summit looking at video -- how the dynamic between TV and mobile screen has evolved since the first wave of enthusiasm over “second screening.” And we end the show leaning even farther forward toward what mobile first video really looks like. Just shorter, with closer framing? Or are we looking at a new aesthetic?      

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