Why Apps May Become More Important Than Your Website


In this “Polar Vortex” edition of The Baer Facts, I talk with Kyle Lacy of ExactTarget about this transitive postulate:

  • We are spending more time online than with any other media
  • We are spending much of that digital time in mobile devices
  • Most of that mobile time is spent in apps

Therefore, apps are becoming the dominant form of digital interaction. (this is a topic I initially covered in Youtility, and wrote about here – with a vigorous debate in the comments).

Digital Passes TV in Share of Time Spent

emarketerRecent data from eMarketer (chronicled here by AdAge) finds that Americans spent more time in 2013 on digital than on any other media, including television. This is the classic “tipping point” and should ring the “digital first” bell in your head.

This same research finds that within the whopping 5+ hours per day Americans are spending in digital, a plurality of that time (2 hours, 21 minutes) is being spent on a mobile device (phone or tablet). Remarkably, this is up some 575% from the twenty-four minutes spent on mobile devices per day just three years prior, in 2010.

This should ring the “mobile first” bell in your head.

Americans’ time spent per day on mobile devices has increased 575% in three years. (tweet this)

Mobile Usage = App Usage

App analytics firm Flurry released data from their tracking of more than 300,000 apps and found that the average time spent per day on mobile devices is two hours, thirty-eight minutes, which tracks closely-ish to eMarketer’s 2:21 calculation. But here’s where it gets interesting: Flurry finds that 80% of mobile device time is spent in apps, 20% in browser.

80% of the time spent on mobile devices is spent using apps. (tweet this)

Is It Crazy If It’s Already Happening?

Many of my colleagues in the marketing world have suggested that I am crazy, and that people will not wade through the sea of apps when they can simply use a website, or ask Google, or access information in some other fashion. They may be right. But, when mobile is how we are spending our time, and we are ALREADY spending 80% of that mobile time in apps, I believe this demonstrates that consumers indeed want the simplicity and focus that apps provide, rather than the variety and diffusion inherent in websites.

As we say in the video above, websites are on the way to becoming the AM radio of the Internet. Yes? Or no?