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Nielsen: Users Spend Over 30 Mins in Apps Each Month … Is Yours One of Them?   

Posted Jul 17, 2014

Quick question: How many apps do you have installed on your smartphone? How many of them have you used in the past week? The past day? The past few hours?

Chances are, you’ve got a few apps that you use regularly, a few more that you use randomly, and perhaps even a couple of apps that you downloaded once and never used again.

Breaking into the “regular use” category is the goal for most mobile app developers – but while the latest report from Nielsen (via InsideMobileApps) shows that people continue to increase the amount of time they spend with smartphone apps each month, the number of apps they’re using isn’t increasing nearly as much.

Video, Games & Photos Galore

Not surprisingly, search and social apps dominate in terms of time spent, followed closely by entertainment apps. In fact, usage of entertainment apps – including video, audio and games – grew 71 percent year-over-year.

But by far the standout app category in terms of growth in usage was photography apps, which saw a 131 percent increase in time spent in Q4 2013 vs. Q4 2012. Whether it’s the “selfie” effect, the improvement in smartphone camera quality, or just a general desire to point, click and share, photo apps are definitely having … dare we say it … a “moment.”

So if you’re a photo app developer, how do you cut through the clutter and take advantage of the popularity? According to Monica Bannan, Nielsen’s VP of product leadership, it’s all about the quality:

“As mobile consumption habits evolve, it’s imperative that app developers continue to add functionality and robustness to their offerings… Although there does appear to be a limit to the number of apps people are willing to access on a monthly basis, they’re spending 31 percent more time than they were last year, proving that it’s the content that counts.”

It also means finding ways to show device owners how easy it is to use your sleek, functional app to take and share gorgeous pictures – so that they’re enticed to not just download it – but use it. Continuously. Naturally, we have some thoughts on how best to do that …

But seriously, more time spent in apps is a good thing for everyone all the players involved. Users get quality experiences with great content, developers get more traffic and impressions for monetization, and advertisers get an engaged audience in a brand safe environment.

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