News / Science & Technology

When It Comes to Apps, Consumers Have Shorter Attention Spans

Google apps are shown on an Apple iphone 5 in this photo illustration in Encinitas, California, April 16, 2013.
Google apps are shown on an Apple iphone 5 in this photo illustration in Encinitas, California, April 16, 2013.
Reuters
Consumers are using apps for shorter bursts of time and opting to “snack” on content more frequently, according to newly released data.

A record 70 billion smartphone and tablet apps are expected to be downloaded globally this year, according to market research firm ABI Research. But consumers' attention spans for apps are dropping.

“People are spending overall a fairly decent amount of time in the app, but it's small intervals of time repeated more frequently,” said Raj Aggarwal, chief executive of Boston-based web analytics company Localytics, which conducted the study.

The study looked at how consumers used over 500 news apps across 100 million iPhone, Android and Windows smartphones between July 2012 and July 2013.

It found that consumers spent on average 26 percent less time interacting with the apps during each session, but that they opened the apps 39 percent more often, for an average 25 times a month, up sharply from 18 times the previous year.

“The whole goal of mobile is to get people the information they need as quickly as possible,” said Aggarwal, who said shorter, more frequent sessions with apps were a sign of their increasing integration into consumers' daily lives.

“They're more engaged with the device, and not just using it as a way to kill time,” he said.

Apps are also leveraging context - such as a user's location, or the current weather in their area - to pull users back into the app more frequently with information that is relevant to where they are and what they are doing.

“The weather apps might proactively message people and say, 'Hey, there's a storm coming' or 'Today's going to be really hot day' as a way to bringing people back in,” Aggarwal explained.

He said consumers were similarly using social media apps for shorter bursts of time but much more frequently.

“Social networking apps have continued to grow rapidly in terms of the total amount of time people spend with them, but the average session is actually pretty small. But when you look at the amount of time people open these apps over the course of a month it's huge,” he added.

“It's close to 45 times a month, so people are coming back to them multiple times per day.”

Accordingly, apps are limiting content that people can post, to keep it brief and palatable for consumers.

Vine, for iPhone and Android, allows users to share videos as long as they are shorter than six seconds. And in June, Instagram updated their app to allow users to share videos, but only if they are shorter than 15 seconds.

The one area where average session length grew longer was games. According to the data, games captured consumer attention for 78 percent more time, increasing to 8.7 minutes per session in 2013 from 4.9 minutes for each one the previous year.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs