Do mobile apps have peak hours? Yes, they do

Faith Merino · September 29, 2011 · Short URL:

Data shows mobile app usage remains high between 7 am and 11 pm and spikes at 9 pm

Mobile advertisers, take note: just as there’s a prime-time for TV, there’s also a prime-time for mobile apps, according to data released Thursday morning by mobile data firm Flurry.  

As most TV aficianados know, all the good shows come on after eight, as that’s when most people are hunkering down for the night.  On a typical Thursday night after eight, you can choose from among such TV favorites as “Community,” “Parks and Recreation,” and “California’s Gold” with Huell Howser on KVIE (“Oh, boy!”).

As it turns out, mobile apps also see the most traffic during these prime-time hours.  Like television, traffic peaks at 9 pm., gradually decreases over the rest of the night, and then starts to pick back up again at 5 am.

Unlike TV, however, apps tend to see pretty high usage all day, remaining fairly steady between 7 am. and 9 pm. before dropping off.  TV, by comparison, tends to remain fairly flat throughout the day (despite the prevalence of “Golden Girls” reruns that are on between 10 am and 2 pm) before suddenly picking up at 6 pm. and spiking at 9 pm.

So what does this mean for mobile advertisers?  Like TV advertisers, it means there’s a time of the day when your ad is likely to get more eyeballs.  For TV advertisers, that would be between 6-11 pm., but for mobile advertisers, it’s between 7 am. and 11 pm., with the most app usage occurring at 9 pm. 

“To put the sheer size of the mobile application audience into perspective, consider that the American Idol finale, which airs once per season, reaches approximately 20 million viewers on that day,” writes Flurry marketing VP Peter Farago in a blog post.  “Mobile apps already reach more than 20 million U.S. consumers per hour, from 7 am to 11 pm.  That’s already the equivalent of 17 American Idol finales each day, or more than 6,200 American Idol finales per year.”

In theory, that could mean that mobile ad publishers could charge more for delivering ads during certain peak hours.  I’m sure someone is already considering the possibility of creating the equivalent of a mobile app Super Bowl, in which they’ll charge millions for mobile ad space.  And then the next day, conservative groups will complain about racy or graphic mobile ads.

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