App usage, downloads and revenues are all on the rise in recent times. In fact, the three are so entwined that finding out what contributes to one of the factors is almost considered the golden rule to finding out how to increase the others. While it might sound obvious that the more downloads an app gets, the bigger the actual revenues that will be generated will be, thanks to the inclusion of freemium and in-app purchases or advertising, this is not always the case or this straightforward.
In fact, a study published today by Foresters Research highlights that Google and Facebook apps seem to be leading the way in terms of app user time. While, this may sound obvious, one important aspect was included in the research. This aspect was the omittance of any and all apps which come pre-installed on a device. Therefore, a Google or Facebook app had to have been noted by the user as having been downloaded to make it into the findings. The survey involved comparing the results from 2000 U.S. smartphone owners in the last quarter of 2014 (October through December) and comparing the user time of apps, with the already mentioned apps which were shipped with the operating system omitted from the results.
In terms of those results, the figures suggested that Google apps occupied 12% of the overall user time on smartphones. With 4.8% of the time reserved for TV and video content. However, Google were second overall to Facebook who saw their apps being used for a total of 13% of the overall user’s time. 11.5% of that time was said to be the result of social networking. Which is to be expected. Although, this all might sound quite obvious, one point which the results does make in terms of Google, is that Google’s approach to apps is one which is working, In fact, the results grossly underestimate the time a user actually spends on the Google suite due to the omission of pre-installed Google apps. Therefore, the 12% noted was for apps which the user admitted to intentionally downloading and using. In terms of the overall findings, the results do clearly indicate that the implementation of an actual operating system is the key to massive increases in app usage. As analyst Julie Ask wrote in the Forrester report “If you want to make money in mobile, build a killer platform.” In fact, this is a point that Ask further elaborates on by noting that some apps are already expanding in ways which emulate more of a platform disposition than a simple app. Facebook, the app which occupied the user time results being a good example of such an app.