The mobile media channel now rivals that of TV and other mainstream media in terms of reach. But the mobile audience is a highly fragment market of niches, which poses challenges for marketers looking to incorporate mobile into the media mix, according to Flurry, a mobile media strategy and business development company.
Flurry is now measuring apps on more than 1 billion smartphones and tablets each month, which gives it “Big Data” insight into preferences and behavior of end users. “While the collective size of the mobile audience is rivaling that of TV and other media, it still requires aggregating the audiences of many apps to reach what can be reached through a few TV programs,” Flurry’s Mary Ellen Gordon, PhD writes on the Flurry blog.
“That said, the numbers are likely closer than you think. Additionally, mobile offers unique ways to engage consumers given its ‘always on, always present’ characteristics.”
Examining usage over the course of a day and cut by weekend versus weekday from the top 250 iOS and top 250 Android apps, Flurry found that app usage spikes to a peak of 52 million consumers during primetime, with app usage growing throughout the day, peaking in the early evening and then ebbing overnight.
The general shape of the distribution curve is similar when comparing weekday and weekend usage. A primetime peak is also evident on weekends, it isn’t as pronounced, as weekends see higher daytime usage between 9am and 5pm. The overall size of the audience on weekdays and weekends “is not substantially different,” according to Flurry’s analysis.
Circling back around to total primetime mobile audience size, Gordon highlights that in order to attain the 250 million total primetime mobile app users, you would “need to combine the circulation of the largest 200 weekend newspapers in the U.S. or combine the audiences for the 3 most highly rated primetime TV shows during a good TV week.”
“We believe this comparison says a couple of important things about the app audience: first that it has reached critical mass, and second that it is still highly fragmented relative to more traditional forms of media,” she continued. “Additionally, while we don’t compare costs in this study, it is far more affordable to reach an audience on mobile versus Print or TV.”
Comparing their February count of active mobile app users in the U.S. (224 million) to comScore’s February count of desktop and laptop computer users of the top 50 digital properties (221 million), Flurry found “that the U.S. audience that is reachable through apps, albeit more fragmented, is now roughly equal to that which can be reached on laptops and desktops.”
Technological attributes of mobile ad networks make it possible to present personalized ads to different users of the same app or the same ad to similar types of people across different apps based on their varying interests. In effect, this enables marketers to aggregate niche audiences to mass market scale.
“The more mobile ad networks increase their ability to deliver the right combination of reach and targeting, the easier it will be for advertisers to invest in mobile and leverage the unique value it offers,” Gordon elaborated further.
“Dynamic segmentation is much more possible on mobile compared to earlier forms of broadcast media. Now, fast forward one year from now, by which time Flurry estimates the installed base of smartphones and tablets will have doubled to 2 billion active devices per month. That should leave marketers of nearly every product thinking: on mobile, there’s an audience for that.”