It’s a mobile world, after all: smartphones and apps dominate media consumption

Downloads, usage and ad-spending on apps continues to break records in a world that’s now mobile-first, new figures show. 

By William Furney, content marketing manager, Reachology

Why reach for the remote, or go to the far bigger effort of buying a newspaper, when you can whip out your phone and get everything you need, from the latest news to the greatest shopping offers and all the most salacious gossip to keep you fired up? 

Since the first smartphones started to become available — Apple’s first iPhone model came out in 2007, and successive versions would help propel the company to one the world’s richest — companies could no longer rely solely on people browsing their websites on PCs. They had to ensure their sites were responsive, so that they displayed and functioned on mobile devices as well as desktops, and it became a ranking requirement of Google and search engines that websites were configured for phones too. 

And along with the widespread use of smartphones, an enormous app ecosystem – mostly centred around the iPhone’s and Google’s Android operating system used by Samsung and other makers – has developed that lets people do practically anything. In the breakneck speed of technology and the ever-evolving web, companies again had to race to keep up, developing apps as a way of connecting with their increasingly mobile consumers and selling their products. 

How much are we using apps?

Now, a new study reveals that we’re spending up to a third of our days on an array of apps, and the most downloaded app last year was video-sharing platform TikTok. The Chinese-owned app currently has around 1 billion monthly active users, and the figure is predicted to grow to 1.5 billion by the end of 2022, according to a new analysis of the app market. That would see TikTok overtake Instagram, which has over 1.3 billion monthly active users, if the photo-sharing app’s growth remained flat, but still place it far behind YouTube’s 2.2 billion and Facebook’s almost 2.9 billion monthly active users.

With all these a constellation of other apps, including Snapchat, WhatsApp, Telegram and others, it’s no wonder our attention is being snared on a massive scale. It turns out that, according to figures researched by US app analytic firm App Annie, that we’re collectively spending a third of our waking days using the apps on our smartphones. 

The report — titled “The State of Mobile in 2022: How to Succeed in a Mobile-First World As Consumers Spend 3.8 Trillion Hours on Mobile Devices” — found that, as smartphones have become an integral part of our lives, we’re spending more time than ever on mobile apps: up to 4.8 hours a day.

“Consumers are migrating their attention and wallets to mobile as over $320,000 flowed through the app stores every minute of 2021, an increase of nearly 20% from previous records, in 2020,” says the research, which found that 435,000 apps were downloaded around the world every minute last year. 

“The big screen is slowly dying as mobile continues to break records in virtually every category — time spent, downloads and revenue,” App Annie chief executive Theodore Krantz said.

What does this mean for digital PR?

In terms of digital PR, which many firms are now using as part of an overall digital marketing strategy, to target customers online, apps, as a medium, have become a priority. Companies’ ad spend is flowing into apps like deluged river after a storm, with $295 billion going on the top apps in 2021, and App Annie predicts the figure will reach $350 billion this year. 

“2021 was another blockbuster year in mobile, following a pandemic-induced catalyst to mobile habits in 2020. 2022 is set to blow past records in a transformed economy reliant on digital socialisation, hybrid work and entertainment from the palm of your hand. A mobile-first strategy is a prerequisite for success in our transformed economy,” the report says. 

Habits formed during the pandemic and lockdowns – many of them based around increased app use, for news, entertainment, banking and shopping – are likely to stay with us, and apps are likely, according to the projections, to dominate our lives even more.

Find out how to take advantage of the mobile-first world and become more profitable, with the digital PR experts at Reachology. Book a free initial consultation now.

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