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Three lessons from comScore’s latest mobile apps report

comScore recently published a 15-page report on the state of mobile apps. It’s well worth reading in its entirety, but if you don’t have the time, here are the three big takeaways for content publishers:

Mobile apps are the new digital engagement king. Prior to 2014 the combination of desktop plus mobile browser was where digital engagement was happening. Now mobile apps are the leader, but there are some caveats. 75% of a user’s time is limited to four apps. Given that trend, what’s the likelihood your new app will replace one of those popular four? The key here is to make sure your content plays well and is seamlessly integrated with the apps that are already attracting all the eyeballs.

Mobile is just one critical element of a device-agnostic strategy. Digital engagement on the desktop isn’t dead. In fact, according to the Comscore report it’s up 1%. OK, that’s not exciting growth but it’s important to note that desktop engagement is holding its own...for now. So while the combination of apps and mobile browsers represent 60% of total digital engagement, the 40% represented by desktop is still significant enough to warrant attention. Does the user experience change when a customer shifts from consuming your content on a phone to a tablet or desktop? Don’t treat any device/platform as a second-class citizen. Even though mobile apps have all the momentum it’s important to make sure you’re not forcing your customers to learn a new UI when they switch from one device to another. (Hint: Think HTML presentation/consumption.)

Downloaded and then forgotten. An earlier report from Nielsen indicates consumers typically use 23-27 apps per month. If you’re like me your phone already has a heck of a lot more than 27 apps on it. And I’ll bet you’re downloading several new apps every month, but for the most part you’re probably still using the same ones over and over. So we’re all a bunch of app hoarders. We download a new app, maybe open it once or twice and then abandon it. Remember that old saying about how it’s easier to sell something new to an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one? Someone who has already discovered and downloaded your app is closer to engaging with your content than someone who may not even know the app exists. So what are you doing to remind (or incent) inactive users to open and take advantage of that app they downloaded?

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