How Real-Time Events Like Super Bowl 50 Influence Mobile App Use

Real-time events influence mobile use, evident in the data released late Tuesday from Localytics and Drawbridge. The data shows how fans used apps during the Super Bowl.

Overall, social network apps were the most popular category, with an average of 3.21 app launches during the game. Music and Entertainment apps were the second and third most-used categories, averaging 2.4 and 2.2 app launches, respectively.

Mobile users in Colorado spent longer in apps, beating North Carolina on average for each session length by 22 seconds. The length of time should send a message to app marketers on how to manage the length of time people will spend in an app.

Today, 25% of apps are only used once. Finding ways for brands to keep in touch with consumers is key, so events like the Super Bowl provides a way to connect with them when they're the most engaged, per Localytics.

For this study, Localytics, which tracks mobile engagement across 2.7 billion devices and 37,000 mobile and Web apps, multiplied the average sessions per user in app by the average session length across all apps to get to a time-in-app measurement.



Timing is important. Apps were used most during the game at 7 p.m., a peak  likely caused by people checking their phones right up until the start of the game and commenting on Lady Gaga's national anthem performance.

That's the opposite of what Drawbridge tracked during Beyoncé's performance: Device use nationwide dropped by roughly 30% when the singer made her entrance, according to Drawbridge.

In an example of how real-time live events influence mobile use, Drawbridge noticed Charlotte fans checked out early. With Denver scoring a touchdown and two-point conversion in the fourth quarter, phone and tablet use climbed 14% in Charlotte, but only 2% in Denver.

Brands found ways to benefit from the exposure of football's big night. Some entertainment apps aired, and enabled the sharing of, the commercials. Others had exclusive previews or provided exclusive content.

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