Social networking, gaming apps tied in time-spend

Krystal Peak · April 27, 2012 · Short URL:

Mobile app consumers are spending less time on games and more time on social networking apps

Consumers are shifting their mobile app time to give equal attention to social networks as they do to games, according to data released by mobile analytics company Flurry on Friday.

Games held the esteemed #1 spot in time spent with an app for so long and it looks like that industry is going head to head with social networks that are making it easier to update statuses and share content on mobile devices.

Flurry reported, in January, that half of all app activity was going directly to games and only around 30% of app time was dedicated to networking apps.

This data comes out just as many changes are being seen on the App Store charts. Today Fiksu released a report showing that the App Store felt a 30% free fall in March,  as Apple crackdowns on download bots. Now there are far more popular and used apps seen all across the top app charts like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

Th top 200 free U.S. iPhone apps saw 4.45 million downloads per day in March -- down drastically from 6.35 million per day in February. Apple put out a notice to developers during the first week of February, stating that these services that help push apps inorganically to the top of charts will not be tolerated.

This report from Fiksu comes just as the Mac App Store has passed 10,000 apps, according to AppShopper.

Apple has been seeing substantial business via digital goods it sells and rents in iTunes and the App Store. The iTunes store generated $1.9 billion in revenue in the second quarter of this year  and last month, Apple announced that it saw 25 billion apps downloads, showing just what a robust audience and catalog it has built in just two years.  

You can see that throughout Q1 2011, consumers spent 25 minutes (37%) of their app-using time in games and additionally spent 15 minutes (22%) of their time in social networking apps.  News and entertainment attracted consumers' attention for 11 (16%) and 10 (15%) minutes per day, respectively.  All other categories combined made up the final seven minutes (10%) of time.  During Q1 2011, Flurry tracked approximately 30 billion application sessions worldwide.

Then when you look at the same quarter in 2012,  games usage dropped by 4% down to 24 minutes per day, while social networking increased by 60% up to 24 minutes per day.  Games and Social Networking categories each controlled 31% of consumers’ time.  News, entertainment and other various categories commanded 12 (15%), 10 (13%) and seven (9%) minutes, respectively. Flurry said that it tracked approximately 110 billion application sessions during Q1 2012.

“We take the rise in Social Networking apps as a signal of maturation for the platform,” Flurry’s vice president of marketing Peter Farago, stated in the report. “As game demand may be hitting its saturation point, consumers are also discovering other apps, namely Social Networking.”

Flurry pointed out several factors that are changing the iOS system and Android to give social networking and gaming.

The first factor is that the platforms are finally maturing enough to offer higher quality apps that are holding onto users better. The second factor is the crackdown on download bots helping reflect quality apps. And the third factor is that Twitter and Facebook area allowing access to more applications such as Viddy and Draw Something.

With more than 500 million iOS and Android devices downloading social networking and gaming apps, it is important to see just how it changes the way we use these devices.

From inspection, ad revenue in apps is driven primarily by games and social networking categories.  In other words, audiences using these apps a combination of the largest and most receptive to ads.  In this past quarter, games apps earned 35%, 35% and 36% of total ad revenue in the AppCircle network.  Over the same three months, social networking edged up from 24% in February to 25% in March, and then to 37% in April.   

Social networks, such as Path and Skout, are building their mobile presence now that they have attracted raising major venture capital rounds.  Earlier this month, Andreessen Horowitz invested $22 million into Skout, and Greylock and Redpoint aided in $30 million funding for Path.  At this rate, if these social media service create strong apps, we could see them eclipse casual gaming apps in mobile devices.



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