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iOS & Android Apps: Prime-time All the Time

  
  
  

On broadcast television, brands seek to reach their target audiences as efficiently as possible.  For example, a brand might run a TV campaign targeting 24 – 35 year old females through prime-time shows that reach that desired audience. 

Prime-time, from 7 pm to 11 pm, is widely known as the part of the day that attracts the most viewers on television.   In advertising parlance, this is referred to as a “daypart.”   And given its popularity, networks charge significantly more for ads aired during this time. 

On radio, “drive time” is the most valuable daypart.  Online, the evening has seen an increase in relative usage with the popularity of social networks like Facebook, instant messaging like Skype and video-on-demand services like Hulu.

This report focuses on dayparting in mobile apps.  Through Flurry Analytics, Flurry tracks more than 110,000 mobile apps on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and J2ME.  The sample used for this study assembled a bundle of popular iOS and Android apps across games, social networking, music, news, sports and communication categories.  In total, this group of apps is used by more than 15 million consumers each day. 

For a point of comparison, we overlaid our mobile app daypart graph onto a chart shared by Michael Zimbalist, VP Research for the New York Times, in a guest post he authored for AdAge.  Let’s take a look at the findings.

Flurry Dayparting TV v Internet v MobileApps v2 resized 600

The chart shows the percent of its own total user-base that a given medium reaches, each hour of the day, starting at 5 am.  In keeping with Mr. Zimbalist’s analysis, we also limit our mobile app data set to include those 15 years of age and older.  For each curve, the percent displayed on the y-axis relates to the proportion of consumers reached during a given hour on that respective medium.  Note that the total audience size for each medium reached varies in terms of its own absolute number of users.  We’ve chosen to overlay Flurry’s data onto this chart to compare the shape of the curves, which indicate the relative concentration of usage during different times of the day.   For reference, we shaded the hours that make up the prime-time television slot.

Our analysis shows that, compared to relative TV viewing and Internet usage, mobile app usage is higher from 6 am to 6 pm.  And while the relative percent of television viewers surpasses that of mobile app users during prime-time, mobile app usage continues to climb until 9 pm, exceeding relative Internet usage throughout the prime-time window.  Mobile consumers are using apps either instead of, or along-side prime-time television and the Internet.  In fact, the percent of relative mobile app usage is greater than that of relative Internet usage every hour of every day. 

To provide a tangible example of audience size for mobile apps, we estimate that the combined number of active iOS and Android devices in the U.S. is approximately 110 million.   Taking 10 am as a daypart of mobile apps (the red curve), 30% of iOS and Android device owners, or 33 million consumers, use an application during this hour.  In theory, apps are like TV shows, in that they reach specific audiences.   With the eventual ability to target apps by various criteria such as age, gender, dayparts and more, advertisers can one day target a tightly defined audience that uses different applications. 

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.   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. 

With Google recently acquiring Motorola and Apple gearing up to launch the iPhone 5 this fall, these numbers will continue to grow.  Further, with companies like Amazon pushing harder into tablets with its recently announced Kindle Fire, and companies like Nokia and Microsoft partnering to stay competitive, we can easily imagine a world of mobile apps where it’s prime-time all the time.

Mobile Freemium Games: Women Thrifty, Men Binge

  
  
  

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.

TimeSpent byAge vs Sex resized 600

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.

MoneySpent byAge vs Sex resized 600

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%).  

Transactions byAge vs Sex resized 600

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.

ASP byAge vs Sex resized 600 

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.

Mobile Freemium Games: Gen Y Plays, but Gen X Pays

  
  
  

Freemium games on iOS and Android continue to dominate the app economy, now accounting for over 65% of all revenue generated among the Top 100 grossing apps in the App Store alone.  In a series of recent pieces on free-to-play mobile games, we’ve shared insights about the relevance of this business model, consumer spending by price point and what kinds of items consumers purchase.

In this report, we focus on the audience who plays these games.  Specifically, we study differences between those who play and those who spend money in mobile freemium games.  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.  Let’s take a look at the results.

MobileFreemiumGames Time vs Money Spent resized 600

In the chart, we compare the relative distributions of time and money spent by age group.  Starting on the left-hand-side, the green bars represent which age groups spend the most time playing freemium games.  We see that ages 18 – 24 account for the most minutes spent, 32%, followed by ages 25 – 34 who represent 29% of usage.  Ages 13 – 17, 35 – 54 and 55+ then account for the rest of usage time at 22%, 14% and 3%, respectively.  The average age of the consumer, based on time spent, is 26.6 years old. 

Next to the green bars, in blue, we show the amount of money these same consumers spend on in-app-purchases within the same set of games.   The top spending group is 25 – 34 years old, accounting for 49% of total dollars spent, next followed by 35 – 54 year olds at 28%.  By contrast, the most dedicated users of these games in terms of time, the 18 – 24 year olds, rank only third in terms of money spent, generating 16% of IAP revenue.  13 – 17 year olds, a popular target audience of these games, account for only 5% of revenue.   Finally, the 55+ age group delivers 2% of revenue.  The average age of consumers who spend money in these games is 32.2 years old.

Broadly, we observe that heavy users of freemium games are younger, while spenders in freemium games are older.  The half that uses these games most, 13 – 24 year olds (55% of time spent), deliver only 21% of the revenue.  And the half that spends heavily, 25 – 34 year olds (49% of money spent), represent just 29% of usage.  We believe much of this has to do with play patterns, disposable income and relative available time.

In social games, consumers can advance in the game through “the grind,” the core set of gameplay activities that allows the user to level up, earn in-game currency and progress.  But to progress via “the grind” takes time and patience.  For consumers that have more time (or less money), they can afford (or must be) more patient.  Younger gamers, presumably high school and college-aged, likely have more time but less money.  So the grind is something they're willing or must commit to, in order to progress.   And with more total available time throughout their days, they can play more frequently.   Simply put, they become your loyal users, but it’s harder to extract money from them.

On the other hand, 24 – 35 year olds presumably have more disposal income, but less time, due to work and family demands.  This combination makes them less tolerant to engaging in “the grind,” but also better positioned to buy their way out of it.  They play less often, but make quicker progress by simply spending. Further, when we expand the age range to 24 – 54, this older group generates nearly four-fifths of all revenue in freemium games.  In short, your whales may be older than you think.

Our conclusion: Gen Y plays, but Gen X pays.

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About Flurry

Flurry is the leading mobile measurement and advertising platform that is optimizing mobile experiences for people everywhere. Flurry's industry-leading Analytics software sees activity from more than 500,000 apps on over 1.3 billion mobile devices worldwide, giving Flurry the deepest understanding of mobile consumer behavior. Flurry turns this insight into accelerated revenue and growth opportunities for app developers, and more effective mobile advertising solutions for brands and marketers. The company is venture backed and headquartered in San Francisco with offices in New York, London, Chicago and Mumbai. 

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