Use of Shopping Apps is Growing Widely

Post by: Hannah Downing

According to a recent article on Recode, time spent in shopping apps is increasing. Using App Annie’s data, Recode reports that “…time spent on the Top 5 digital-first shopping apps — Amazon, Amazon Shopping, Wish, Etsy and Zulily this year — grew 44 percent in the first half of 2017 compared with the first half of 2016….”

This is important because more the more time people spend in apps, especially shopping apps, the more they are likely to make a purchase. With more time spent also comes more chances to engage with customers and improve the value of your relationship. This includes customer service chat or easy order tracking and reviews.

An interesting trend that also was mentioned in this article was that traditional retailer apps, for companies that are more brick-and-mortar based rather than fully digital retailers like Amazon, also saw growth in time spent in their respective apps. Though the growth in time spent in these apps was not as large as the digital-first shopping apps, it did grow.

The most important aspect to consider with data like this is that it is clear mobile shopping is growing and is becoming the most preferred way to shop. Traditional retailers should be putting money and ideas into how their apps function, especially in how easily they function for the consumer, to compete with digital-first retailers like Amazon and Etsy.

When it comes to Oplytic, we are built to help your company track and analyze your app’s downloads and in-app purchases so that, in critical mobile app moments like this, you can have the tools you need to make sure your app is doing all that it can for you and your company.

Google and Apple Protecting User Data

Post By Hannah Downing

Google and Apple have been making strides when it comes to creating a safer, more transparent app space for consumers. For Google, this comes in the form of a new strategy to weed out the bad apps from the good ones. For Apple, this means specifically creating restrictions when it comes to user data, such as location services, and restricting this data to certain types of apps.

As Abner Li recently wrote for 9to5Google, Google is implementing a comparison strategy to find apps that may be requesting data from users that is irrelevant to the functioning of the app and, therefore, should not be requested. Google wants to stop this kind of data collection because they think this data is often being shared, too, which they see as unfair and unsafe to the consumer. To make this process as efficient as possible and to minimize mistakes, Google is using machine learning to execute this strategy. Apps are categorized by similar functionalities and any app with differences within that group is flagged for Google to look into further. As an example, Li quoted that Google might flag a coloring book app that is requesting and sharing a user’s location if no other coloring book app even requests this kind of data, especially since something like location would likely not be relevant to the success and functionality of a coloring book app. Google is also adding to their efforts to restrict data collection by limiting how frequently background data can be collected from a user within a certain amount of time.

Apple is taking a different approach to protecting user data, specifically location. James Hercher recently reported for Ad Exchanger that Apple’s new iOS update, due in September, will feature a blue bar appearing at the top of iPhone and iPad screens when apps are tracking the user’s location in the background. The update will include more options for users to control when each app is allowed to track their location. There will also be more restrictions for certain apps regarding location, such as only allowing apps one request to “always” track a user’s location.

These changes show a clear effort on both Apple and Google’s part to emphasize the safety of consumer data and each user’s experience overall. We’ve seen multiple instances of this new emphasis on the user rather than developers or marketers lately, including upcoming changes to the App Store and Google Play, that allow for more relevant and clear information to be displayed to users, further allowing for informed decisions to be made by users. In the end, both app developers and marketers are going to be held to high standards as these platforms continue making changes to accommodate the user and users will get the experience they deserve.

Average app usage may not be what you think it is

Post By Hannah Downing

App Annie recently released a report detailing app usage in different countries. This report breaks down apps by category and details how many apps the average user engages with each day and each month, while also including how much time average users spend in apps.

App Annie reports that 2016 saw an increase in total time spent in apps with nearly one trillion hours spent and 2017 is set to follow the same trend, after considering the results of the first quarter. Considering these findings, App Annie writes that, "mobile apps have become vital to our day-to-day lives." The number of apps used each day and the amount of time spent in apps shows how central they are to the way we live our lives.

When noting the centrality of apps to our lives, many people would probably guess that the average user spends most of their time in the most popular apps. However, this report found otherwise. App Annie writes, "There is plenty of user time to go around that is not dominated by major apps such as Facebook and WhatsApp." This is because, of all the time users spend in apps, 80 percent of that time is spent outside their country's top app, the report states. This is important for app developers and mobile marketing companies to know because it means that, with a good app and strong marketing strategy for that app, there is time out there to be won from users; it is not as impossible as one may guess, considering the intense popularity of multiple apps, especially those in the social media category.

Similarly, while many people may use the top apps in their country, the average user still uses about ten apps a day and thirty apps a month, according to App Annie's report. This again shows how there is still room for other apps in each user's time, not solely the top-ranked apps. These statistics become even more important when considered alongside game apps, which App Annie says make up 75 percent of app store revenue. Mobile app games prove the possibility of success for apps who may not be the highest-ranked, even with the presence of other time-consuming, non-gaming apps, such as the aforementioned Facebook and WhatsApp. There is still time for apps outside the popular "social" category.

While it is encouraging to hear that such a large percentage of users’ time is spent outside the most popular apps, mobile marketing companies and app developers still must win time from users, no matter how much our total time spent in apps increases. This is due to the countless number of apps readily available to users, many of which have similar functions. What these statistics really point to is the importance of user retention because, without frequent engagement, the app in question will not make it to the thirty apps the user engages with each month. Companies like Oplytic can help publishers win this time from users through increased retention and engagement rates, helping to make their app more successful.