Commentary

AI-Driven Personal Assistant Apps Shaping Digital Consumer Habits

Over the past year, Verto Analytics has published critical research identifying and tracking rapidly-emerging trends in consumer behavior, particularly on mobile devices.

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Hannu Verkasalo, CEO, Verto Analytics, introduces the conditions under which AI driven apps are influential, from the rise of multitasking to the continued influence of cross-device behavior on digital usage. One thing is clear, says the report: “consumer habits are changing faster than before, aided by an increasingly novel technologies and shorter device innovation cycles. The prevalence of Internet access, the rise of social media, e-commerce, and most recently, mobile apps, have all shaped how consumers behave with digital devices.

Within the past few years, we’ve witnessed the rise of AI-powered apps, which harness cloud-based natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning to power a more sophisticated wave of apps and services,” continues the introduction. “In many ways these apps, such as Amazon Alexa, are replacing and providing a next-generation user experience for digital content and everyday tasks,” the report says.

“Many of these apps provide a more contextually-driven, seamless way for consumers to perform tasks like checking news, weather, or directions,” continues Verkasalo. “And new apps and services are not the only ones making inroads into the AI space: existing user interfaces on both Android and iOS devices are also evolving quickly.”

The report explores how people actually use these AI- driven apps today. While AI-driven personal assistant apps are still very much in their early days, today’s data on early adopters gives us an idea about the future of AI, says the report, and which apps might lead to mass market adoption.

Some definition of Verto Analytics terms used in the report:

  • AI: The overall concept includes elements such as machine learning, natural language processing, and other intelligence produced by machines
  • MULTITASKING: a multitasking session is one during which at least four different apps are used in the same session, and at least seven different “movements” (or, a shift from app to app) occur among these apps
  • CROSS-DEVICE BEHAVIOR: Consumer activity that occurs on multiple devices simultaneously, eg., using a smartphone while also using a PC

In May 2017, Verto Analytics conducted its first Personal Assistant Apps Index, which ranked the most popular AI-powered personal assistant apps being used on smartphones, from Siri to Alexa.

Over the past year, the personal assistant apps sector has seen major user growth among certain apps, but this has been accompanied by stagnation and even a decrease in users among some major players, such as Siri and S-Voice, the personal assistant app for Samsung devices, says the report.

 Between May 2016 and May 2017 Siri lost 7.3 million monthly users (nearly 15% of its total). User engagement with Siri has also dropped significantly over the same time period, says the report. The app’s “Stickiness Index” (a metric used to quantify engagement by comparing daily users to monthly users) dropped by nearly half, from 21% to 11%.

While the Google-owned properties on the Index have enjoyed modest growth over the past year, emerging players like Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa are quickly gaining traction. Although its user numbers are comparatively tiny, Alexa has seen a 325% increase in monthly unique users (from 0.8 million to 2.6 million) during the past year, and has more than doubled its stickiness rating, from 10% to 22%. Cortana has also seen a significant jump in monthly unique user numbers, from 0.2 million to 0.7 million (a 350% increase), with stickiness ratings tripling from 19% to 60%.

Additional information regarding the report may be found here.

 

 

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