Apps are telling – they signal our personal tastes and interests. There are probably nearly as many unique combinations of apps as there are devices, and the apps we use reveal a lot about us. Based on Personas that Flurry has developed for its advertising clients, we are beginning a series of blog posts to shed light on different groups of smartphone and tablet users and their app usage patterns. Moms -- who often control household budgets and expenditures -- are considered the prime audience for many brands. So we thought, where better to start our Personas series than by examining what moms are doing with apps?
Our analysis for this post relies on iPhone, iPad, and Android app usage during May of this year for a large sample (24,985) of American-owned smartphones and tablets. Discussion of app usage is based on time those devices spent in the 300,000+ apps that use Flurry Analytics.
What Apps Do Moms Use?
Moms, like most other groups, spend a lot of smartphone and tablet time playing games. In fact, on Android, more than half of the time American Moms spent in apps was spent playing games. Similarly, on iPad moms spent about half their time in games, but on iPhone, that percentage drops to a little less than a third of their time. On iPhone, lifestyle apps capture a larger proportion of Moms' attention (12%) than on iPad and Android devices.
As shown below, the second most popular category among moms on iPhone and Android devices is social networking. On iPad, newsstand (24%) was the second most popular category, demonstrating its strength as a screen for displaying magazine type content.
Where Do Moms Over-Index?
Most mobile consumers spend a large proportion of their app time in gaming and social networking apps, so what makes moms different from the other American owners of smartphones and tablets? Across iPhone, iPad, and Android, American Moms spend more time in education apps than the general population. Also, moms who own an iPhone or an Android device spend a greater share of their app time in health and fitness apps. Unsurprisingly, moms are also heavy shoppers. Android moms over-index for time spent in shopping apps, and iPhone moms over-index for time spent in catalog and lifestyle apps. (For this post, we have honored The App Store and Google Play’s systems for classifying apps. In iOS, shopping apps can fall into either the catalog or lifestyle category, whereas Android has a dedicated “shopping” category.)
Moms Own More Tablets And Gravitate Toward iOS
Compared to other American device owners, moms are enthusiastic users of tablets. As shown below, among the general population 25% of connected mobile devices were tablets, but for moms that percentage is 35%. This could be driven by the fact that many parents use tablets for sharing games and stories with their children.
60% of the smartphones and tablets we looked at were iOS devices. (Note that this number is a function of the installed base of active devices, so does not reflect market shares from sales in recent quarters.) For American Moms, the numbers lean even further toward iOS devices. A whopping 77% of moms own iOS devices while just 23% own Android. There are at least two factors that may explain this. First, it could be a function of Moms’ greater tablet ownership since iPad dominates the tablet market. Second, surveys show that women in general skew toward iOS devices. The key takeaway is that moms are much more likely to be found using iOS devices than Android devices.
For Moms, Connected Devices Are More For Escape Than Utility
So what can we infer about American Moms based on their app usage? For one thing, it appears that they use smartphones and tablets as a refuge from their busy lives. On average, half or more of the time they spend in apps is spent on social networking and game apps. In this sense, they are not that different from other Americans, but it does show that even busy moms need to escape and socialize, and mobile devices provide a way to do that.
Apps where American Moms spend a disproportionate share of time relative to other Americans also tell us something about their more serious side. Those apps tend to be improvement-oriented: education and health and fitness, for example. Moms are using their devices to help them achieve personal goals and possibly to educate their children.
We hope this post gives brands and developers a better idea of where the coveted American Mom is most likely to be during mobile time, and what is capturing their attention. App developers can tap into this valuable group by building experiences that give moms an escape from their hectic day-to-day routine, keep them socially connected, and help them improve different aspects of their lives. Media planners who want to reach American Moms should continue to buy ad inventory in gaming, news / magazine, and social networking apps, and to weight their budgets toward iOS apps.
Smartphones and tablets continue to break new consumer technology adoption records. From earlier research, Flurry found that iOS and Android smart devices have experienced twice the uptake rate compared to that of Internet adoption, and four times the rate compared to that of PC adoption. Following this unprecedented adoption, advertising dollars are beginning to flow into mobile. A recent IAB study reported that 63% of top brand marketers have increased their mobile advertising spending over the last two years, and that 72% plan to increase advertising spending over the next two years.
Focused on mobile advertising, this report has two parts. First, Flurry compares the allocation of advertising spending across various media versus the actual time consumers spend across those same media. Next, through detailed demographic breakdowns, we share which audience segments are best responding to mobile advertising. Let’s start by understanding trends in media usage versus ad budget allocation.
The Great Mobile Ad Spending Gap
In the above chart, Flurry aggregated publicly available data from VSS and Mary Meeker (KPCB), then layered in its own analysis to reflect the growth in app usage we observe. With our adjustment, we resized the totals for U.S. advertising spending by media and consumer time spent using each media. From left to right, represented by the green columns, is the proportion of advertising spending across each major media. TV and Print command the greatest advertising spends in the U.S. with 43% and 29% of the total, respectively. Web, Radio and Mobile channels round out the balance of media spending with 16%, 11% and 1%, respectively. Adjacent to the ad spending columns is the amount of time consumers spend by media type, represented by blue columns. TV leads consumption with 40%, followed by Mobile and the Web with 23% and 22%, respectively. Radio and Print complete the picture with 9% and 6% of usage, respectively.
Comparing where usage and spending vary most, one notes severe over-spending in print advertising and even more severe under-spending in mobile. Web usage also shows sizable under-investment, relative to platform usage, though not as dramatically as seen on mobile. In short, despite the fact that mobile advertising is growing, the platform is far from getting rational levels of spending compared to other media.
We believe the main reason for this disparity is that the mobile app platform has emerged so rapidly over such a short period of time. With the iOS and Android app economy only three-and-half years old, Madison Avenue and brands have yet to adjust to an unprecedented adoption of apps by consumers. Further, the mobile advertising ecosystem remains nascent, without sophisticated platform tools. Concepts of audience measurement and segmentation on mobile are still forming, and mobile lacks the kinds of systems that agencies take for granted on the web. For instance, mobile inventory is difficult to buy in volume, ad networks have yet to be integrated into Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs) and common standards for ad serving, tracking and settlement are yet to be defined. Just consider that large publisher properties like Facebook have yet to monetize their mobile properties, with many still needing to hire media sales organizations to position themselves to do so. As the mobile platform matures, and these problems are addressed, mobile advertising is poised to take off in earnest.
Mobile Advertising Audience Sweet Spot
For the second part of our analysis, we measure which audience segments respond best to mobile advertising, leveraging data from our own ad network, AppCircle, as well as publicly available data. Taking a sample of 60,000 daily active users on iOS, from among a total group of 6 million for whom we have demographic data, we calculated the effective cost per mille (“thousand” in Latin), or eCPM, earned by publishers. Using eCPM allows us to consider both branding (e.g., CPM) and performance (e.g., CPC and CPA) advertising campaigns in our calculations to get an accurate read on which mobile audiences monetize best. In the following charts, we display eCPMs by age and gender, household income and educational level attained. The higher the eCPM earned by audience attribute, the more valuable the audience is to both advertisers, who pay top dollar to reach this audience, and publishers, who earn the most revenue for selling access to this audience. Let’s start with audience breakdown by age and gender.
The chart above shows the value of mobile application segments by age and gender. Males are shown in green and females are shown in blue. The value above each respective column is the eCPM earned by that segment. For example, 25 – 34 year old females fetch the highest eCPMs at around $13, driven by underlying high click-through and conversions rates. In fact, females are the more desirable target audience across most age breaks, tied with men in the 18 – 24 year old age range, and exceeding them at 25 and older.
Breaking out eCPMs by household income shows that income ranges from $60,000 to $100,000 are the most valuable, with $100,000 to $150,000 also performing very well. For mobile advertising, there appears a strong correlation between affluence and eCPMs. This squares with earlier analysis from Flurry that found households with iOS and Android smartphones are, on average, 50% more affluent ($44,000 average U.S. household income vs. $66,000 average U.S. smartphone household income). Smart device owners are, on average, more affluent and more educated.
Similar to household income, we find that those who attained higher levels of education are more valuable segments in terms of eCPM generation. Those with a bachelor degree fetch the highest eCPMs, close to $8.00. The second most valuable segment are those even more educated, having earned a master degree or higher.
The Cream-Skimmed Smartphone Upper Middle Class
As a total snapshot, our analysis shows that females and males, between the ages of 25 and 34 years old, who have higher levels of disposable income and a bachelors degree or higher, more strongly interact with mobile ads. Leading sociologists William Thompson and Joseph Hickey define this class as “the rich” or “upper middle class,” comprised of highly educated salaried professionals whose work is largely self-directed. Typical professions for this class include lawyers, physicians, dentists, engineers, accountants, professors, architects, economists and political scientists.
What bodes best for the outlook of mobile advertising is the quality and quantity of the audience that not only uses smartphones and tablets, but also interacts with ads on these devices. Based on our analysis, revealing that the most sought after segments already interact most with mobile ads, a key ingredient required to realize the promise of mobile advertising is the introduction of mobile ad platforms that can segment publisher audiences and enable targeting by advertisers to reach segments of their choice. Like online, which is infinitely more measurable than Print, Radio and TV, mobile advertising is poised to grow radically with the introduction of scalable, data-driven solutions that put advertisers and publishers in control of their own destiny. Actionable data and well-built platforms are the keys to unlocking Madison Avenue spending.
The iOS and Android app economy continues to grow, with freemium games leading all app revenue models, now accounting for more than 65% of app revenue.
In its most recent analysis on freemium games, Flurry revealed that the amount of time and money consumers spend varies significantly by age. Younger consumers spend a lot more time, but older consumers spend a lot more money. In this post, we shift our focus to understand how freemium consumer behavior varies between men and women. We’ll compare differences in time spent, money spent, transaction volume and average price per transaction.
And since the world of marketing and advertising traditionally looks at consumer behavior by “demo” (i.e., the market broken down by demographics of age and sex), we likewise present all of our findings by demo. By Flurry’s calculation, the freemium audience represents among the largest and most attractive concentrations of educated and affluent consumers in consumer technology today. From conversations Flurry is having with the industry, brands and advertising agencies continue to show increasing interest in accessing this audience.
This study uses data from a sample of iOS and Android freemium games with over 20 million users across more than 1.4 billion sessions gathered from Flurry Analytics, which tracks over 110,000 apps across the major smartphone platforms. The amount of money spent was tallied by summing the total transactions multiplied by their respective price points. Time spent was observed by tracking the total minutes spent playing these games. Let’s start by looking at time spent. Please note that figures presented in charts have been rounded up to nearest whole percentages.
The chart above shows a graphical cross-tabbed view of time spent by age versus sex. Adding up all the percentages across each column totals 100%. Blue columns represent males and pink columns represent females. The amount of time spent by males and females is broken down by age group, from youngest to oldest, left to right. The total split of time spent is presented in the legend, with men edging out women 53% to 47%.
What we take away from this chart is that time spent in freemium games on mobile is relatively evenly split among males and females, with 18 -34 males (coincidentally considered the best target for hardcore games) representing the largest group about a third of all players. 18 – 34 year old girls come in accounting for 27% of time spent. In total, freemium gamers tend to be younger, with 83% of them under 34 years old.
Switching our attention to money spent in freemium games, males lead in money spent by a greater degree, accounting for 58% of total money spent. Across each age group, men lead women in spending, with the greatest difference occurring in the 25 – 34 year old age group. For freemium games, spending is concentrated between the ages of 25 - 54, with men in this age range representing nearly half (45%) of spending and women representing another third (32%).
After finding that men and women spend similar amounts of time playing freemium games, but that men out-spend women 58% vs. 42%, we further drilled down to understanding this difference. Breaking out the number of transactions by demo, we see the similar clustering of transactions into the 25 – 54 year old span of users, but see that transactions are more evenly completed by both men and women. In this age range, men drive 40% of transactions and women drive 35%. This is quite a bit different than total money spent by this age group, which came in at 45% male versus 32% female.
Calculating and presenting the data by amount paid per transaction, we find our answer. Men spend an average of 31% more per transaction, or $15.60 versus $11.90. In fact, male spending dominates female spending across each age group by a relatively consistent margin. In the “sweet spot” of revenue generation, 25 – 34 year olds, representing a whopping 49% of total revenue, men out-spend women by 37% per transaction.
Flurry believes that, aside from the raw appeal of a game, the ability to measure and act on this kind of data will make the biggest difference to the success or failure of freemium game companies. Zynga, who is poised to have one of the most successful IPO’s in history, recently described itself as “an analytics company masquerading as a games company.” Segmenting and targeting an app audience will reveal where to spend precious company resources to attract, retain and monetize the most valuable consumers.
In turn, advertising agencies and brands increasingly want to reach this new mass-market audience, who now spends more time in apps than browsing the web, and is primarily concentrated in freemium games. The ability to describe this audience by demo will make the difference between whether or not Madison Avenue can work with game developers. And since only 3% of consumers spend on freemium games, companies that monetize the other 97% of the audience, non-payers, will additionally succeed.
Flurry believes that the industry is at an exciting juncture, in terms of mass-market viability, real consumer spending and the ability to segment and target audiences. We know one thing for certain: companies follow consumers because consumers have money. And consumers are now in mobile apps, especially freemium games.
Hardcore Gamers are so 2007
As the growth of iOS and Android mobile devices continues to explode, there is a tectonic shift in the landscape of video gaming, a medium that continues to reach the most powerful spenders in the economy. Not only are these emerging platforms attracting droves of existing gamers, but also spawning a new and highly engaged audience: the mass-market mobile casual gamer. The era of marketing singularly to the 18 – 34 hardcore male gamer is officially over.
Given the sheer size of the video game industry, this is a watershed moment. In January 2011, according to the NPD Group, 2010 worldwide video game revenue, excluding hardware, exceeded $15 billion. Strikingly, console game sales were down by 5% in 2010 over 2009. PC sales were up slightly by 3%, primarily due the release of the latest StarCraft installment by studio veteran Blizzard Entertainment. As Flurry described in its analysis last year, hardcore gaming is facing competition from more mass-market-friendly gaming apps on mobile devices. In particular, iOS is taking a bite out of portable platforms.
Below are two charts that demonstrate how age and gender demographics vary between the traditional gaming audience and mobile social gamers.
Reviewing the charts, it’s clear that mobile social gaming is attracting a much stronger female base, as well as a younger average user. Among mobile social gaming, there is also greater density in the 18 – 49 year old bracket, which indicates that iOS and Android devices are attracting users during their earning years versus, in particular, their teenage years, where they likely cannot afford more expensive mobile devices.
Mobile Bigger than Console, Portable… and TV
Just how big is the audience in this new era of smartphone mobile gaming? Consider that Flurry has detected over 250 million unique iOS and Android devices in the market, and is detecting more than 750,000 new devices daily. According to recent reports, this installed base is larger than the combined worldwide installed base of console industry leaders Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3, estimated at approximately 180 million units. Likewise, iOS and Android devices command a larger installed base than the combination of portable game platforms Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, which recent estimates peg around 200 million devices worldwide.
Further sizing the segment of users that plays mobile social games, the audience exceeds that of any U.S. primetime television show, the best of which can top 20 million viewers on days airing new episodes. Contrast this to the 26 million unique users Flurry already detects 365 days of the year, and who spend more than 25 minutes per day in social games. On a broader scale, Flurry monitors more than 300 million user sessions across all games and apps. A whopping 37% of these are from games.
The Consumer behind Social Games: a Marketer’s Dream Target Audience
The audience playing mobile social games is beginning to attract the attention of major advertisers. For this study, Flurry used a sample of over 60,000 social gamers on iOS and Android who self-reported age, gender and location. For parts of this report, where we focus on the U.S. segment of the audience, we further crossed location information with United States zip codes to leverage U.S. Census Bureau data for deeper segmentation.
Let’s start by looking at the concentration of mobile social gamers by international region.
The chart above shows that mobile social gamers live in more developed economies, with the highest concentration in North America, followed by Europe. This hints strongly at a similar geographic footprint to iOS and Android penetration to date, with Asia beginning to grow more quickly as Android, in particular, finds increased distribution in this part of the world.
Next, we display a cross-tabulation of age and gender in a bar chart format for our worldwide sample. This provides the opportunity to study how male and female usage varies across age ranges.
From the chart above, it’s clear that female mobile social gamers are older than their male counterparts. While males have a slight lead in usage in the 13 – 25 year old range, more women play between 26 – 44 years of age. Additionally, referencing the earlier age comparison between traditional and mobile social gamers, the latter are younger, with an average age 28.2 vs. the traditional, more hardcore gamer, who is more often male with an average age of 34. Just below, we display separate charts for age and for gender.
The U.S. Mobile Social Gamer: Affluent and Educated
Studying the U.S. mobile social gamer, we note that she earns over 50% more than the average American, is more than twice as likely to have earned a college bachelor’s degree, and is more likely to be white or Asian.
The video game industry is transitioning from an era of hardcore male gamers who have dominated the landscape, to more mass-market usage across mobile social games. 18 – 34 year old males are being supplanted as the most attractive segment to target by big brands and agencies. The Mobile Social Gamer segment is highly engaged, younger, made up of more females, more educated and more affluent. In terms of usage behavior, they use social games far more often than they watch prime-time television shows, and using for 25 minutes per day, are heavy users of this interactive content. Mobile social gamers are the new mass-market powerhouse.