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Chitika-Tablet-Web-Usage-by-Hour-Feb2014In a new report [download page], Chitika has taken a look at how tablet usage – in this case web browsing only, not applications – fluctuates during a typical day. The analysis averaged out hourly ad impressions over a 2-week period from Chitika’s network for the iPad, Microsoft Surface, and Android tablets, reaching some fairly unsurprising but nonetheless interesting conclusions. Predictably, the iPad dominated in overall usage; each tablet sees very similar usage patterns.

One way that Chitika analyzed web usage patterns was by determining the peak hour of use in the typical day for each tablet and then indexing all other hours to that peak. Of note, each tablet had its peak hour at 9PM EST, consistent with 2012 research indicating that tablets tend to be used more in the evening hours, and aligning with similar research from Chitika released early last year finding the same peak hour. So even as tablet adoption has rapidly expanded over the past year or two, usage patterns appear to have stayed fairly stable.

The report notes that in relation to its peak hour, the Microsoft Surface seems to be slightly more used during the day than the iPad or Android tablets. But, as the above chart (click to enlarge) demonstrates, it’s not a very significant difference. People seem to use their tablets in roughly the same manner, no matter which type of tablet it is. In fact, Chitika notes that there is no more than a 6%-point difference in hourly usage rate between the iPad and Android tablets at any point during the day, with the differences averaging out at 0% (!) over the entire day.

So how are those tablets used? To some extent at work – with usage at more than 50% of peak levels from 11AM through 5PM – but certainly more so after work hours. Indeed, there’s a noticeable acceleration in use of each tablet beginning at 6PM – and despite a rapid drop after the 9PM peak hour, usage levels are still slightly higher at 11PM than at 6PM.

As for the Microsoft Surface, which the analysis notes is being marketed for use at work? Its usage levels in the morning hours (8AM-10AM) are actually lower than the other tablets, though it picks up steam in the afternoon hours.

Finally, though it comes as no surprise, the report indicates that the iPad generates far more usage than the other tablets throughout the day – including more than 4 times the traffic of Android tablet users during the peak hour of 9PM.

About the Data: Chitika Insights analyzed tens of millions of North American tablet-based online ad impressions within the Chitika ad network. The data set analyzed consisted of impressions catalogued from January 20 to February 2, 2014. Hourly usage shares were then calculated based on an average of individual hourly traffic totals seen over the two-week period.

Chitika Insights’ method does not measure unique users, it measures overall Web usage. This means that if a user views ten pages that contain Chitika code, they will register ten ad impressions. All Chitika ad impressions in this study are generated through Web browsing, not mobile or desktop applications.

Chitika Insights utilizes the user agent generated by each website visitor to determine the Web browser, operating system, and (if applicable) the mobile phone or tablet in use by that user. Chitika maintains an extensive database used for identifying user agents.

Chitika Insights’ typical sample for a study consists of approximately 300 million U.S. and Canadian impressions, as measured by page views rather than unique visitors (as explained in the first paragraph of this section).

The Chitika network is composed of website owners who register one or more domains. The number of website owners who provide Chitika with North American traffic total over 100,000, encompassing more than 300,000 websites spanning a wide variety of verticals (e.g. automotive repair tips, news sites, job postings, etc.). Overall, Chitika ads appear on sites ranging from the Alexa Top 10, to smaller, “long-tail” type blogs.

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