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We now spend more time browsing mobile apps than the web

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 14th July 2011

More than ever, any tech PR professional worth his or her salt needs to stay on top of the fragmented media landscape that is today’s reality.

Reports of the demise of print are old news, but any modern day analysis of media consumption needs to go much further as research out this week from Flurry attests.

The mobile app analytics firm has revealed that, in the US at least, time spent on mobile apps has now overtaken web browsing.

Using data from ComScore and Alexa, Flurry found the average US user spends 9% more time using mobile apps than the web; an average of 81 minutes per day on apps compared to 74 minutes.

This is up from 66 minutes on applications in December 2010. This growth mirrors an increase in the number of sessions per day per user, suggesting that we are dipping in and out of mobile apps throughout the day (e.g. quickly checking Twitter on the bus), rather than spending long periods of time in any one session.

So what does this mean for tech PRs?

Well, for a start, it reveals (if you were in any doubt already) that mobile is a big thing, with mobile apps in particular surging in popularity. I’m personally not convinced that mobile apps are here to stay in their current form (another post for another day), but there is no doubt that at the present time they are fundamentally important in the media ecosystem.

But the data about sessions is interesting too. There is no information in the research to determine what sort of apps are being used, but the fact that we dip in and out of them points again to increased media fragmentation.

Rather than sitting on the train reading the Metro from front to back (or back to front!), we are now more likely to jump onto Twitter, check a status update on Facebook and then maybe browse the top stories on the BBC News app.

The opportunity

Being visible in the right place for your audience at the right time is absolutely crucial. Media fragmentation makes campaign planning trickier for tech PR professionals. Gone are the days when we knew exactly which publications our target audiences would be reading on a regular basis.

But there is an opportunity too, because there is greater proliferation of stories across these diverse media outlets. And with more and more people using social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin on mobile devices to source interesting articles, recommendation and sharing becomes a powerful new delivery method for tech PR campaigns too.

Now, more than ever, it is vital that all campaigns have a joined up media strategy that encompasses traditional media (both offline and online) and social media. Campaigns that can also be linked to wider marketing activities will only serve to increase awareness amongst target audiences, no matter where they might be or the channels they are using.

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