[NEW APPY HOUR PODCAST] Mobile App Trends & Consumer Multitasking

For most of us, our smartphone is the first thing we pick up in the morning. Before we get out of bed we’ve checked emails, scanned the news, maybe caught up on our Twitter feed, and looked at friend’s photos on Instagram.

Multitasking is a part of our everyday lives. Few of us pick up our phones, do one thing, then put our phones away. There’s always a click, or a swipe, or a copy & paste.

On this episode of Appy Hour, we sat down with Alison Murdock, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Verto Analytics, to discuss the newest trends in the app space, multitasking, & the future of mobile.

New Trends in the App World

For the last five to six years, there have been a plethora of articles written outlining the death of the app. Just head to Google and search “The Death of the App” and you’ll have days of reading material.

The problem is, according to Alison & her team at Verto, is that there is no data to support this. In fact, according to her firm, 85% of the time that consumers spend in mobile sessions is spent in apps. Consumers are 6 times more likely to use an app on a mobile device than they are to browse a mobile website.

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Clearly there are loads of apps that get installed, then forgotten. The user gets excited about an app, downloads it, then realizes it’s not what they thought, and it never gets used. Even so, the cries of the death of the app have been greatly exaggerated.

So how do you design an app that people want to engage with constantly?  

Becoming a “Daily-Use” App

The average smartphone has 89 apps installed. Of those 89 apps, only about 25 are used in any given month, and of those 25, only 7-8 are used daily. How do you become a core app? In the world of Facebook & Snapchat, it’s certainly hard for any small app developer to compete against those big companies.

 

Engagement

Engagement means analyzing data. Frequency of app use, age demographics, time of day use, and more. These are all crucial pieces of data to engage with.

Measure how you stack up against other apps in your category. Are you a productivity app? Who are your top 5 competitors, and how are they tracking? Measure where you rank and look at it frequently.

You know your app, but how well do you know your competitors?

 

Don’t Assume

A lot of app developers make the mistake that their superuser is just like them. They live in San Francisco, shop at Whole Foods, and bike to work. Many of these developers have simply never surveyed their users.

Verto recently worked with a voice activation app and discovered that their superuser was a 52 year old woman. The developers probably weren’t necessarily thinking as much about this demographic during development as they should have. From directions to shopping lists, this was a key demographic for this app. You may have a growing population of users using your app that you’ve never considered. 

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Monetize your App

In order to monetize your app, you’ve got to tell a really good story about your users. In order to tell a really good story about your users, you’ve got to know your users. Prove who your users are, and you’re far more likely to bring in substantial revenue through your app.

Consumer Multitasking

One of the great things about smartphones is they way they allow us to intuitively multitask. With the rise of mobile usage has come a rise in multitasking between apps in a single session, and also across different devices.

Multitasking is defined as one session, where at least 4 different apps are used, and at least 7 different shifts from app to app occur. It’s becoming a new standard for customers, and can take many different shapes.

Maybe you’re in Facebook, then click a link to a website, then head to the Google search bar, then head to Instagram, then to the ESPN app to check a score, then to your email, then back to Facebook. This is multitasking.

A lot of folks think an awful lot about making their app easy to access, but how many think about making their app easy to return to? How many times has this happened to you?

You’re booking a hotel room, but have to bounce out of the booking app to access your flight information. When you head back to the booking app, the fields you had filled in are gone.

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This is why you’ve got to make it easy to get to your app, easy to leave your app, and easy to return to your app.

 

Omni-channel (Cross Device) Multitasking

Almost one third of all online device sessions, when a consumer is using a connected device, fall into what Verto would classify as “multitasking,” and this happens twice as often on smartphones as on PCs and tablets.

It is crucial to remember that we don’t live in a solely smartphone world. How many times have you started a show on your tablet or your smartTV, only to finish the last five or ten minutes on your smartphone?  

This is why you cannot make JUST a smartphone app. You’ve got to create a cross channel experience. Amazon is a fantastic example of this. You can add an item on your desktop, and finish shopping on your tablet. Or start a movie on your phone, and finish it on your smartTV.

Future of Mobile

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What does the future of mobile look like? What’s in store in a world that is constantly changing? The definition of mobile is growing increasingly blurred. From smart TVs to wearables, at some point we'll need a central hub so that we don't have to manage dozens of apps. The need to integrate all your mobile apps into one place is one that is growing exponentially.

If you’d like to learn more about Verto Analytics and how they can help drive your business, check out vertoanalytics.com, find them on Twitter at @vertoanalytics, or connect with Alison on LinkedIn.

This post is based on an interview with Alison Murdock from Verto Analytics. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to Appy Hour.

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