App use surpasses web browsing

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For the first time, we’re spending more time in mobile applications than surfing the web via desktop or mobile browsers, according to a new report.

It’s worth noting that this report comes from Flurry, whose business model rests on ever-increasing mobile app use. (From the company’s site: “Flurry increases the size and value of mobile application audiences, helping more than 40,000 companies in over 75,000 applications on iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7 platforms.”) But even so, the news is likely either true or pretty close to it.

Consider that the sales of smartphones and tablets combined are on track to surpass desktop and notebook computer sales this year. When you’re on a mobile device (and despite what Mark Zuckerberg believes, tablets are, indeed, mobile devices), it’s far easier to browse using apps than via the web. It’s all tap and swipe instead of trying to spell things correctly as you type on a teensy or virtual keyboard.

Publishers have a vested interest in making mobile apps for their publications as attractive and easy to use as possible. While on the web, you’re probably flitting from site to site. If you open, for example, The Economist’s iPad app, you’re probably going to stick around for a little while. Unless it’s a clunky app. In which case, you’ll probably delete it and may never go back to it again.

chart mobileapp vs web consumption resized 600

So what does any of this really mean?

Well, it means that if you’re a publisher and you don’t have a mobile app, you’d better get on it. And if you do have one, it’d better be good, and simple.

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