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.

Google Play Changes Ranking Criteria

Post By Hannah Downing

Google recently announced a change to their app store, Google Play, but it is of a different nature than Apple's App Store revamp—Google is changing the way they rank apps in the app store. As ExchangeWire reports, "...the [Google] store is favoring apps that are used by consumers regularly and over time, not just those that were downloaded frequently."

In other words, exclusively having your app downloaded many times will not guarantee it a top spot in the Google Play store anymore. Instead, the store will be ranking the apps based on how often users return to them and how engaged their users are overall. This change seems to be coming in an effort to help users be more informed about the apps they are downloading by showing them which apps have continued working well for other users.

This change makes sense and it begs the question if Apple will make this change to the App Store, too. The change makes sense because very few people download an app with the intention of using it only once or twice, especially when you consider people who have less storage on their devices, which forces them to consider every download they make. Instead, with this new ranking system, Google is helping users compare similar apps more easily and, therefore, make a more educated decision on what they're downloading (and sometimes buying). This is much more helpful than ranking apps by their popularity because an app's total downloads can climb to great numbers, but that does not always mean the users' expectations are being met. This new way of ranking apps will show which apps not only have met, but continue to meet, users' expectations.

ExchangeWire writes about how this change in the Google Play store means app marketers will have to focus more on quality than they may have in the past. However, this does not mean they should ignore quantity. ExchangeWire writes, "Without promoting an app and hitting some critical mass, none of the other metrics matter. Even if you have years-long retention and hourly engagement, it won't matter if your app is only installed on a hundred devices." Rather, marketers will have to keep an eye on both, making sure they are targeting quality downloads and that a significant quantity of those downloads occur.

This change means that mobile app marketing companies, like Oplytic, will have to continue to work with marketers and publishers to identify the best sources for quality downloads and find ways to track users' actions efficiently after the app is downloaded. As ExchangeWire writes, following the post-install data can help both marketers and product managers understand more about their app and users' experiences with the app. With this, user experience can be improved to keep users engaged, resulting in a high ranking in the Google Play store.

Where in the world should you be marketing?

Post By Hannah Downing

It may be time to start considering other countries for mobile marketing. As can be seen from many mobile marketing reports, such as this one from Smart Insights, there are certain countries that mobile marketers are more focused on than others. The countries tend to be the United States, Canada, and multiple countries in Europe, such as France and Italy.

While data and reports have warranted focusing on some countries more than others, recent data suggests that mobile markets across the globe are changing and mobile marketers need to be aware so that they do not miss any opportunities. The most recent data regarding app and mobile usage comes from multiple different sources, from App Developer Magazine to Recode.

According to App Developer Magazine, there are multiple geographical markets that need not be overlooked by mobile app marketers. The first of these is the Asia-Pacific market (APAC). App Developer Magazine writes that, for APAC, "The install-to-registration rate...is 12.4 percent, nearly three times higher than North America"and this number is similar to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa's, which is 10.4 percent. APAC's potential for mobile app marketing becomes even more clear when you consider its 8.6 percent install-to-purchase rate, according to App Developer Magazine, which falls behind only one country--the U.S. Needless to say, APAC has a growing market that is coming up to speed with the other countries that mobile marketers tend to target.

When it comes to Latin America (LATAM), it gets a little trickier. App Developer Magazine writes that LATAM users are more likely to register than anyone else, with an install-to-registration rate of 13.78 percent. However, App Developer Magazine further reports that just because LATAM users register, does not mean they will go on to make purchases. LATAM users are 95.5 percent less likely to make a purchase than North American users, according to App Developer Magazine. However, this article also suggests that the lack of purchases made may be due to a less developed and less trusted mobile app and e-commerce market in Latin America, which brings us to our next point: mobile broadband subscriptions.

Recode recently wrote an article about the projected rise in mobile broadband subscriptions over the next five years. This article states that, by 2022, mobile broadband subscriptions in both Latin America and the Asia-Pacific markets are projected to grow significantly, with APAC mobile subscriptions projected to move to 55% LTE and 10% 5G and LATAM projected to move to 65% LTE, as Recode reports.

An increase in mobile subscriptions and better network coverage will make using mobile apps even easier and more reliable, not to mention increasing the number of users to market to (Recode also reports that mobile broadband subscriptions are projected to climb to 8.3 billion in 2022 from Q1 2017’s 4.6 billion). To keep up with this trend, mobile marketers will have to continue considering where their apps and products can fit into each country’s growing mobile markets, and mobile app marketing companies like Oplytic can help them do just that.