You probably have been spending a lot more time interacting with your mobile device over the last year. You’re not alone, and much of that interaction takes place through apps. I don’t know about you but I have a lot of apps installed (and even more that I’ve used and uninstalled over the years). I just checked my phone and there are 131 app icons. Putting aside that there’s probably a dozen or so that are pre-installed crapware from my carrier and the handset manufacturer (I ranted about that previously – you get a reprieve today), that’s still a large number of apps competing for my attention. There are hundreds of thousands more in the app store too.
Despite the increase in choices, the number of apps used is staying the same. A recent Nielsen analysis found that on average, U.S. smartphone users accessed 26.7 apps per month in the fourth quarter of 2014—a number that has remained relatively flat over the last two years. And consider this: Over 70% of the total usage is coming from the top 200 apps.
However, while there appears to be a consumer threshold to the total number of apps people are willing and/or able to actively use during the month, the time they spend engaging on those apps has increased. In fact, the monthly time spent per person has increased from 23 hours and two minutes in fourth-quarter 2012 to 37 hours and 28 minutes in fourth-quarter 2014—a 63% rise in two years! So the reward for being one of the chosen apps is heavy engagement by the user.
It appears our app usage mirrors our TV usage. While we might have access to hundred of TV channels, most of us only watch 21. As has happened with TV, the engagement deepens with the chosen few. The challenge for any business is to become one of those two dozen. The means making the potential user base aware that you are the best solution to their problem, whether it’s how to amuse one’s self or how to get to a place you’ve never been or how to get clothes that are reasonably priced and fit well. It means avoiding the dreaded “uninstall” – that action that takes place whether you’re an app or not when a customer moves on since you didn’t deliver on the promise made. Maybe you were boring. Maybe you were bloated with ads. Maybe you tried to sneak in a lot of extra charges. Those things aren’t limited to apps but they’ll lose you the “chosen” status much of the time.
What are you doing to be chosen today?