NEWS16 January 2015

Use of mobile web ‘underrated’

News North America

US — New research from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) suggests what looks like time spent on mobile apps may be “mobile web use in disguise”.

Previous comScore research has indicated that smartphone users spend more than 88% of their mobile time using apps. However, new research from the IAB suggests that what looks like app time may actually be web use in disguise.

The study found that only 18% of smartphone owners who use the mobile internet on their phone said they spend significantly more time using mobile apps than browsing mobile websites and that more than 52% of smartphone owners said they click links within apps that take them to content on mobile websites at least sometimes or more frequently. According to the report, this means that while these users are technically operating within an app, they are also spending time on the mobile web.

The research, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of IAB among around 2,000 US adults aged 18+, also explored preferences for mobile internet vs. mobile apps for various online activities. Results were as follows:

  • Search: 42% prefer mobile web; 32% have no preference; 20% prefer apps
  • Shopping: 28% prefer mobile web; 26% have no preference; 22% prefer apps
  • News: 25% prefer mobile web; 31% have no preference; 25% prefer apps
  • Local Directory: 25% prefer mobile web; 31% have no preference; 21% prefer apps

“Understanding the journey users take to get to mobile content is critical, and this study is just the beginning of our exploration into the topic,” said Anna Bager, senior vice president, Mobile and Video, IAB.

“Marketers, agencies and publishers must be mindful of any entrance people may take into their mobile presence. Many consumers bypass the front door, taking a roundabout trip into the mobile web instead.”