A piece came out in TechCrunch yesterday concerning the increased time people are spending in mobile apps.
(Photo credit: dhammza)
According to their analysis time spent with mobile apps (127 minutes a day) has surpassed time spent on the web via a desktop (70 minutes) and is gaining on TV usage (168 minutes). It’s an interesting comparison and the piece goes on to say the usual things about how mobile may be the future but it’s still an unknown business model for marketers and investors (except for the carriers – that business model seems to be pretty well-defined and pretty damn good!).
I have a few thoughts I’d like to share. First, while the piece implies that TV is somehow threatened by this, the fact that TV use has not declined should demonstrate that it’s not going anywhere. In fact, according to the data presented in the piece, TV usage has increased over the last two years. What’s not clear from the piece is what is being consumed on the TV. Does watching streaming video via Netflix on my TV count as TV? I’m assuming this does include time-shifted TV which may or may not include watching the commercials that are a piece of commercial TV’s business model.
Second, as someone who rode a train two hours each day for many years, I can tell you that there is an awful lot of downtime. For the last few of those years when I had a smartphone, I began to use some of my commuting time to do some of the things cited in the study – social networking, catch up on news, etc. No streaming video then but I’m sure I’d be watching it now. All of those minutes are incremental involvement with content (and the marketing that supports the content) I otherwise might have foregone. It’s pretty easy to spend a few minutes of downtime at lunch on your mobile device. I don’t see these numbers as negatives.
Finally, the piece does ask the right question which is how companies can capitalize on all of this mobile activity. There is too little information it’s too hard to scale, and the marketing model within apps is still not impactful. The app world is way more fragmented than is the TV world or the worlds of other “mass” media. Then again, the app world is only five years old (dating it to when the first iPhone came out). The commercial web is still searching for a business model in many ways and it’s going on twenty.
It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. What do you think?
There was a great movie that came out in 1979 called “Starting Over.”
Cover of Starting Over
It starred Burt Reynolds as a newly divorced man and featured Oscar-nominated performances by Candice Bergen and Jill Clayburgh. I thought of that film the other day as I read about a piece of research from the folks at uSamp. I’ll explain why in a second, but first the research findings, which you can read about here:
Men are more likely than women to buy a variety of products, including digital content and consumer electronics, on mobile devices. 30% of male respondents in uSamp’s study said they have bought digital content via a mobile device, compared to just 20% of women. The disparity is even wider when it comes to consumer electronics; 27% of male respondents said they have bought a consumer electronic via a mobile device vs. 8% of female respondents. Men seem to be more active on mobile devices after the purchase as well. 35% of male respondents (females: 28%) indicated that they have commented on a purchase via a mobile device, and 26% (females: 16%) have written a review of a purchase.
There is a scene in the 30-year-old movie which reminds me of why the above is no surprise. After he gets kicked out, Reynolds’ character needs new stuff – a bed, etc. He goes shopping by walking quickly through the department store aisles followed by a clerk pushing a cart. He slaps items as he goes, which the clerk throws into the cart. The point is that most men don’t look as shopping as an experience but as a task, and we all know that tech devices are great at helping us accomplish tasks more quickly and efficiently. Men don’t “shop” – we buy.
Your primary target is something to consider as you’re thinking through the customer experience The differences between male and female shoppers should be taken into account. If you’re a sporting goods store,for example, maybe spending more money on anything that makes the process more efficient (faster checkout, more visible information about products, huge store directories) is a better investment than in-store music, snazzy graphics, or clever displays. One can carry that thinking to a web shopping experience, a sports app, or any other business.
See the movie if you get a chance, and remember the lesson even if you don’t. Funny how research keeps echoing real life!
Consider the tire iron. This device is included in every automobile and is used, obviously, to change tires when there’s a problem. It’s used to loosen the lug nuts that hold the tire in place and as a lever or handle on the jack to raise and lower the vehicle. It can also be used with bad intent to kill someone. So is the tire iron intrinsically an evil thing if it’s used in a manner for which it wasn’t designed?
There’s an issue floating around now that raises this very question and it may concern you – if you carry a mobile device, it probably does. It raises a business question as well. Continue reading