Apps dominate the time users of Android smartphones spend with their devices, according to data from The Nielsen Company. Nielsen analysis indicates that in April 2011, Android users spent 56% of their daily smartphone time with apps.
Messaging Beats Phone Calls
Interestingly, the activity that Android smartphone users spent the second-largest amount of time performing was email and messaging, which took up 19% of their daily time. Placing actual phone calls came in third, accounting for 15% of daily smartphone time. Phone calls were followed by time spent on a web browser (9%), with camera activity only accounting for 1% of daily smartphone time.
Organic Discovery Less Likely for Brand Apps
Smartphone users are much less likely to discover brand apps via organic methods than they are to discover overall apps organically. For example, smartphone users discovery 45% of all apps through friends and family, 61% more often than the 28% of brand apps they discover this way.
Similarly, smartphone users only discover 21% of brand apps by searching an app store on their phone, while they are 2.8 times more likely to discover all apps this way (58%).
Brand apps are conversely more likely to be discovered through ad-based means. Smartphone users discover 15% of brand apps via TV ads, almost double the 8% of all apps they discover this way. Another 13% of brand apps are discovered via newspaper/magazine/radio ads, 30% more than the 10% of all apps discovered through these channels.
- Apps that “give back” are much more popular than other apps, with rewards apps particularly popular.
- Word of mouth is the most common form of discovery for branded apps.
- Consumers indicated that brand affinity and third party endorsements in the form of ratings and reviews were crucial in their decision to download a branded app.
Define App Success In Advance
Nielsen offers the following pointers in developing a successful smartphone app:
- Define success in advance, answering questions such as who are you trying to reach,what are you trying to achieve, and what are the right metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPI).
- Apps can support a strategy, but are not a strategy in and of themselves.
- Give consumers something useful, such as price comparisons, stain removal tips, recipes, weather updates.
- Protect the brand: A great app can revitalize a brand, a “buggy” one will destroy it.
Apps Drive Data Growth
Previous Nielsen analysis indicates that growth in 89% year-over-year growth in Q1 2011 smartphone data usage is clearly being driven by app-friendly operating systems like Apple iOS and Google Android. Consumers with iPhones and Android smartphones consume the most data: 582 MBs per month for the average Android owner and 492 MBs for the average iPhone user.
Also of note, Windows Phone 7 users doubled their usage during the past two quarters, which Nielsen says is perhaps due to growth in the number of applications available.