The average person with a Smartphone spends about 37 hours in apps monthly but recently Forrester Research dug a little deeper to find out exactly which apps people are using the most. The study surveyed 2,000 U.S. Smartphone users at the end of 2014 and found that 12% of their time was spent in Google apps and 13% in Facebook apps, which outpaces any other company’s programs.
The research firm also discovered that those percentages only account for apps that users have specifically downloaded, so if your phone came preloaded with YouTube, Google Maps, etc., then Google’s percentages are technically even higher.
While it’s not that mind-blowing that these two companies dominate our time spent in apps, the importance of all that usage on their businesses can’t be understated.
How do Apps turn to dollars?
Both Google and Facebook create the majority of their revenue by showing ads to users, which is a pretty lucrative practice. Forecasting done by eMarketer projects that advertisers will spend $20.79 billion in mobile apps, compared to just $7.93 billion for mobile Web browser ads.
According to Forrester, Google is still the clear-cut leader of the pack in the space because its Android platform is so enveloping, but it noted that Facebook might have a growing advantage.
“Though nascent as a platform, Facebook owns a large global audience and has a clear sense of purpose, centered on consumers’ inherent desire and need to communicate and a solid plan for how to enhance that experience by integrating services in context,” the report said.
That is already paying off for the social media giant, Facebook. In the first quarter of this year, the company increased revenue by 42% year over year, from $2.5 billion to $3.54 billion. On top of that, Facebook increased its mobile daily active users by 31% and monthly active users by 24%.
Facebook still believes it can improve those healthy numbers. Forrester suggested Facebook has had its share of failed app attempts, including Poke and Paper, and that the company must grow its user base, particularly in foreign markets such as China. The research firm suggests creating a new strategy to better monetize WhatsApp, bring in more revenue from its Oculus purchase, and expand its revenue streams outside of advertising.
Trouble on the horizon?
A few months back, bloggers and tech savvy insiders hinted that Google wants users to spend more time on the Web and less time in apps, in part because the company’s share of the mobile ad market has fallen from 50% in 2013 to about 46.8% right now. And while that might be true, these bloggers should have made Google’s growing advantage with its apps more clear. As long as the company can get people to use its Smartphone applications, it will find ways to monetize them and continue to rake in the big bucks.
So no matter which company comes out ahead in mobile app usage, both companies are successfully getting the attention of Smartphone users and effectively serving up mobile ads. We wouldn’t bet against either company’s ability to continue dominating this space.