Aug 22, 2013

    Consumers using apps in shorter bursts

    CONSUMERS are using apps for shorter bursts of time and opting to "snack" on content more frequently, according to newly released data.

    A record 70 billion smart- phone and tablet apps are expected to be downloaded globally this year, said market-research firm ABI Research. But consumers' attention spans for apps are dropping.

    "People are spending, overall, a fairly decent amount of time on an app, but it's small intervals of time repeated more frequently," said Mr Raj Aggarwal, chief executive of Boston-based Web-analytics firm Localytics, which conducted the study.

    It compared how people used over 500 news apps across 100 million Apple, Android and Windows phones between July last year and last month. Consumers spent, on average, 26 per cent less time interacting with the apps during each session, but they opened the apps 39 per cent more often, for an average of 25 times a month, up from 18 times the previous year.

    "The whole goal of (going) mobile is to get people the information they need as quickly as possible," said Mr Aggarwal, who said shorter, more frequent sessions with apps were a sign of the apps' increasing integration into consumers' daily lives. "Users are more engaged with their device, and not just using it as a way to kill time."

    Apps are also leveraging context - such as a user's location, or the current weather in the area - to pull users back into an app more frequently with information that is relevant to where they are and what they are doing.

    Mr Aggarwal said consumers were similarly using social-media apps for shorter bursts of time, but much more frequently.

    The one area where average session length grew longer was games. According to the data, games captured consumer attention for 78 per cent more time, increasing to 8.7 minutes per session this year from 4.9 minutes for each one last year.