Comscore’s 2015 App Report: A Treasure Trove of Great Data


If you haven’t yet downloaded the comScore 2015 Mobile App Report, you should really do so. These periodic publications, which are available for free on their site, are loaded with facts that can help marketers comprehend and capitalize on changes in the app landscape. And this edition is no exception.

I’ll highlight some of the findings here, but this post will really only scratch the surface.

Media Time Up Up Up

digital minutes by month comscore

Since last year, total consumer connected time in the US has continued to climb, with the vast majority of that growth coming from the app sector. But don’t assume that just because apps are up that means mobile web and PC are down. They aren’t.

Mobile now represents a whopping 62% of total connected time, and total monthly digital minutes are up 49% over just two years ago. I think what’s most interesting here is the macro behavior change of consumers – who now fill much of their old “down time” with connected access and activity. I am sure we can all relate to that trend in our daily lives — how virtually any spare moment gets filled with information and engagement on a smartphone or tablet.

Apps Dominate Share of Connected Time Growth

Share of Connected Time Growth

This chart shows the dominance of app time growth as a percentage of total growth in connected time. These figures show both the strength and vitality of the app sector.

Apps AND Tablets Dominated by Apps

time smartphone tablet

One interesting finding is that apps dominate time spent on both tablets and smartphones. In fact, on smartphones almost 9 out of 10 minutes are spent in-app. But the data also show the challenge of amassing a massive audience with apps. App time is spread across a massive number of apps, while, as a rule, leading mobile websites are able to attract more uniques.

mobile uniques

Discovery and Top App Dominance

There are lots more fascinating findings, but some of the most important insights relate to app discovery and how frequency of use influences on what screen the app appears. The data also show that people’s single most used app accounts for half or more of their total app time. Since that app is likely to be a social media app, the data are perhaps not all that surprising.

Dominant apps

I found the data on consumer willingness to allow push notifications encouraging. 69% allow push messages “sometimes” or more often. That underscores the tremendous value that this communication channel can play in driving additional app engagement and monetization.

Push Notifications

The Importance of Habit

The study examines the usage growth rates of many apps that proactively try to integrate their apps into store visits. In all of the cases cited, these efforts have resulted in strong penetration and usage growth. That provides great rationale for app audience retargeting, because it’s clear that the more often and deeply we can encourage people to use apps, the more likely we are to build sustained businesses. Whether that retargeting is done via advertising or other means of communication like push notifications, it’s clear that more app use – especially in the early days after an install, yields enormous short-, medium-, and long-term benefits.

Again, the charts reproduced above represent only a sliver of the content you will find in the presentation. Download it now by clicking this link.

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