Apps Command More Mobile Time

Mobile users are spending more time than ever with apps, according to a new study. The report from app analytics and advertising firm Flurry found U.S. consumers are spending 86% of time, up from 80% in 2013. That amounts to two hours and 19 minutes a day out of the total mobile time of 2:38. The balance is spent on the mobile Web.

That estimate is drawn from Flurry’s app analytics software running on 1.2 billion devices globally per month. The overall time spent on smartphones and tablets was up just four minutes from last year, or 2.5%.

“This is a modest increase in time spent, yet not as spectacular as the five previous years,” noted Flurry CEO Simon Khalef, in a blog post today.

That suggests American’s addiction to mobile devices may be easing up a bit in 2014. Breaking down how people spend their time in apps, the study suggested nearly a third (32%) goes to games. Social and messaging apps garner 28% of time, with Facebook alone accounting for 17%. Twitter, by comparison, was just 1.5%.

Utility apps represented 8% of time, Safari, 7%,  Google browsers, 5%, entertainment, productivity and YouTube, each took 4%, and news, 3%. The category-based information was compiled from Flurry Analytics, comScore and NetMarketShare data.

Khalef pointed out that despite increased competition in the social segment, Facebook managed to maintain its market share with help from Instagram. The WhatsApp acquisition will only help the company keep a hold on the lion’s share of time spent in the social/messaging space.

What’s more, the Flurry data indicates that the time spent with Facebook is roughly on par with the 17.5% of overall mobile advertising Facebook earned in 2013, based on eMarketer research. By contrast, Google, according to eMarketer, earned 49.3% of the overall mobile advertising revenues, with 18% of time spent in mobile.

(Flurry included YouTube and all the time spent in browsers where Google monetizes search and display.) The other apps command 65.3% of time spent but only receive 32% of ad revenues. Khalef argues this represents an opportunity for gaming and other apps to make money through advertising. But then why aren’t they doing so already then?

A law of nature says ad dollars have to be apportioned in accord with time spent. Further, a Gartner study earlier this year estimated because of the ever-growing number of apps, less than 0.01% of consumer apps by 2018 will be considered a financial success by their developers.

Still, Flurry points out the market for in-app ads is growing. The ad category is growing 60% a year and is expected to surpass desktop display ad revenue by 2017, according to a forecast by IDC and app analytics provider AppAnnie.

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