NEW PLAYBOOK + The Media App Trends You Need To Know

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The Media and Entertainment Mobile Marketing Playbook

We've completely updated our Media & Entertainment Playbook to include the latest trends, insights, and real-life examples from apps nailing mobile engagement. 


We covered some engagement data in entertainment and media apps back in 2015, and some of the trend lines then were predictable. The idea of “entertainment and media” apps is admittedly very broad, and covers news, sports, live event, streaming, ticketing, and in some cases even includes social media.

As you might expect, news apps saw the highest usage between 5am and 10am (morning commute for many) and had a session length of around 6:00. Music apps had a longer usage session and the peak activity time is late afternoon, implying background music at work.

What’s happened in the past two or so years in the entertainment and media app space, though?

Engagement is increasing, as you’d guess

For U.S. consumers, time spent on mobile began to exceed five hours/day in early 2017. Time spent in mobile apps increased 69% Y2Y between ‘16 and ‘17.

Here’s where we spend those five hours/day, courtesy of Flurry:

Screen Shot 2017-10-13 at 9.28.29 AM.png

This is classified slightly differently, but media/entertainment is the single-largest chunk at 15%. If you count social media as an example of media/entertainment, then that number would far outpace anything else. It’s clearly where consumers are spending the bulk of their time, however you slice the data or categorize what constitutes “media and entertainment.”

Deloitte has also reported an increase in shorter, often-customized video segments (6-10 minutes in length) within-app for the Millennial/Z generation. The broader trend in the last 2-3 years might be best summarized by PwC: it’s less about creating content designed to capture attention in the form of eyeballs, and more about creating content that builds you a legitimate fandom of those who will return. That idea is commonly called “engagement,” although the term “engagement” can also be watered down by counting impressions, etc.

True engagement is the currency of the modern mobile ecosystem, and especially within the media/entertainment sector. As PwC notes:

In every M&E sector, disruptive companies are racing against incumbents to drive fan value — to be the first to deliver what users want, perhaps even before it is clear they want it. The pace will accelerate. Any companies hoping to join the fray will need to be better than the competition at locking up fan engagement, loyalty, and spending, and at investing in efforts that drive fan value.

So what’s next?

We all know some of the biggest concepts in mobile right now in terms of “the next thing:”

  • Augmented reality
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Virtual reality
  • Geo-location
  • Better data processing

All these are going to play out in media/entertainment apps, without question. Augmented reality is already beginning to in various games. Some traditional brands in other industries, like Acura, are essentially making their app options into “media and entertainment” by incorporating augmented reality.

As some believe we’re currently transitioning from a mobile-first world to an AI-first world, you’re also seeing increases in AI usage among media and entertainment apps. YouTube’s recommended videos are powered by an AI engine, and Publishing Executive is already claiming AI will “completely revolutionize” the media business. The basic idea at the heart of that argument is using data to form better 1:1 relationships with media consumers about what they actually want.

Facebook already rolled out their first social VR app (Spaces) this spring, and while media companies are experimenting more with VR, it may never go fully mainstream. It’s a large investment for most individuals, and people could feel ridiculous depending on future design of headset options. Plus: with 99% of Millennial/Z consumers noting they use “at least 3-4 screens” while engaging with TV, the VR experience (with need for constant headset) may be too limiting for them.

The great promise of technology over the next 5-10 years is increased data processing and data analysis capability, so that data -- rather than being silo’ed in a department -- can be used for more effective decision-making. That’s something you’ll see explode in the media and entertainment app area. Right now, many of these companies have broad data sets on their users, but haven’t been able to tangibly translate that to better, more-immersive experiences. That’s the next frontier.

Smart data will continue to rise up in the mobile marketing world, as we’re seeing with new options from Oracle and in India. Knowing your customers and knowing what/when to push out to them is going to drive the “fandom engagement” described above, and that’s currently the most sustainable strategy for mobile marketers. It will be good for all brands in the M&E space to experiment with AI and other tools, but a focus on data designed to make better decisions and gain lifelong fans is currently crucial.


Check out our updated Playbook and start increasing your mobile app engagement today!

The Media and Entertainment Mobile Marketing Playbook