People Are Spending a Third of Their Day Staring at Mobile Devices. What Does This Mean in Marketing Terms?

the golden path for marketers to succeed in a mobile-first world

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Let me ask you a question: are you reading this article on your phone? If you answered “yes,” you’re not at all alone. In 2021, people spent a third of their waking hours on their phones. That’s a solid 4.8 hours per day browsing apps, according to the App Annie State of Mobile 2022 report.

What does that mean? It means an increase of 30% in usage since 2019.

With that information, the question that marketers and managers need to ask is: how do we succeed in a mobile-first world where consumers spend an amazing 3.8 trillion hours on mobile devices?

We have some ideas to share.

Comparing numbers from 2019 to 2021, it’s possible to see how users have been behaving throughout the years and then think of possible impacts or opportunities that might result from these changes.

Pandemic Blues

First, we have to take into account the changes that occurred in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve seen an increase in mobile usage because the world has been home for, literally, years.

Having gadgets closer has kept people more connected, not only for entertainment. It has also influenced the new standards of work.

According to the report, the business keywords most searched for in the iOS App Store in 2021 were related to video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom, Google Meet and Teams, along with scanner apps.

And, as we’ve said here before, remote work doesn’t seem to be something that will disappear with the end of the pandemic. Many mobile device usage habits that emerged with the pandemic can safely continue into 2022 (and beyond).

A Quick Worldwide Overview

Let’s take a global look at the data report:

When it comes to 2021, Brazil and Indonesia stand out with results of more than 5 hours on mobile apps. This is approximately 2 hours more than the last country on the research’s ranking, China, with a little more than 3 hours a day.

The U.S. came in 10th with 4.2 hours per day (an hour more than Americans spend watching TV).

Source: App Annie Intelligence / Note: Android phones

Social Media, Gen Z and Trends You Need to Know

If you are a heavy user of social networks, you probably noticed the boom that photo and video apps are experiencing. It seems like every day we have a new trend, challenge or viral content coming up on Instagram or TikTok, especially when we look specifically at Gen Z.

And data reinforce that: according to the report, 7 of every 10 minutes spent on mobile was spent on photo and video apps in 2021.

The recent generation of users (Gen Z) is much more connected and interested in sharing their lives on social media. Young people are responsible for delivering a good amount of engagement on photo and video apps, a lot more than other sorts of apps.

Other segments like gaming, finance, and retail have also gone through growth in app usage over the last year.

How Relevant Is This to Marketers?

Using data on your marketing strategies can be a good way to find potential problems and opportunities.

People are spending a third of their day staring at a single screen. This means that marketers have good opportunities (literally) in the palm of their consumer’s hands.

But, for that to bring you results, it’s necessary to understand a way to make the deliberate use of mobile devices a direct channel connecting their audience, from entertainment to business.

Having a mobile-friendly website is no longer enough. It’s the bare minimum for any brand. People’s attention to their phones is huge but also disputed. Getting their eyes on your brand may not be such a simple task.

But we have a few tips to help you with that.

Think of New Channels

An important point in a marketing strategy is understanding the channels your audience is in. It has been clear that mobile usage has increased a lot globally. If you are not exploring digital channels very deeply, this has been almost a must lately.

Is it worth running an App?

If your business runs an app, you might be closer than you think to your audience. Apps are great for collecting data about users, which can help in developing more specific strategies. There is also the benefit of mobile apps sending push notifications and offers in real-time, increasing the chance of interactions.

But beware: it’s no use creating an app without any purpose. People are very selective with the apps that compete for their cell phone memory.

Yes, having an app can indeed be a fantastic strategy. But it’s not cheap, nor is it easy. To be worth it, it must, first of all, make sense with your brand, and even more important, have an extremely relevant objective and meaning for your audience.

Collecting Data Is Almost Like Collecting Pieces of Gold

Having a deep knowledge of your audience’s data is also essential for marketing strategies.

But you should know from the beginning that this mission in the mobile world is not that simple, especially after Apple’s update that requests user authorization to access app-related data for tracking the user or the device.

When we say that collecting data is like collecting gold, it’s because it’s true: it’s one of the most important resources for marketers today, and it needs to be deserved (you can’t just “take” someone’s data—that person needs to grant permission for your brand to use it in strategies).

And mastering it can, in fact, mean gold for your company.

So, the more information you have about your audience and market, the bigger your chances of success for your marketing plans, as you will be able to create specific actions according to your customers’ needs and interests.

For instance, the report shows that young people use social networks a lot! In this case, if you are looking for ways to reach young people, social media is a great channel.

Don’t Fall Into Boring Static Text

Keep in mind that people are more and more interested in photo and video content. While developing content, try to attract attention with quality and creative images and videos, so you can get your audience more engaged.

Interactive content is another way to keep your audience engaged with beautiful pieces that will stand out from others, while you collect first-party data on each click.

A good example of this is TikTok growing 75% on the YoY rates. The trends promoted through the app during the pandemic were almost like discovering a new hobby.

Whether you are just watching, dancing, or doing other challenges in front of your mobile camera, a TikTok trend probably caught your attention (and your customers) at some point during the last few months, thanks to its format.

Go Social, Go Far!

Since social media is growing a lot, plenty of opportunities emerge as well. Organic strategies are evergreen actions that bring results and, if you want to give them a boost for new markets, for example, you can invest in paid initiatives. Most of the social channels currently work with this possibility.

Also, there are new players on these channels, bringing influence marketing to the stage.

Digital Influencers are very present on Instagram and TikTok and can be an important tool for delivering brand awareness, launching products or services, entering new markets and promoting various marketing initiatives in specific segments.

Creators are closer to the public and have the power to reach crowds with good engagement rates. If your brand is looking to expand any of the mentioned topics, it can be nice to track people who are referenced in your niche and consider inviting them to partner with you.

Have You Ever Played This?

Right after interactive content is gaming. This non-traditional channel, if well explored, might help you achieve good results in your marketing actions.

According to the report, in 2021, $116 billion (USD) was spent on gaming worldwide. If these folks spend this much on games, why wouldn’t they invest in your product or service?

With games, you also have the possibility to partner with the developer brand or launch ads for the free versions.

After the Storm, There Might Be a Rainbow

We came up with some perspectives on some initiatives that can be applied according to the data that App Annie’s Stage of Mobile 2022 report collected.

The report has a wide range of rich information that can turn into great insights for many types of businesses. So keep your eyes on the data and think of the possibilities you can take advantage of.

To sum up, whenever a new big change occurs in the market, try to imagine which strategies your brand can apply that will have a positive impact on your brand and go well with the new opportunities that might appear.

And to always stay on top of the main research and trends about the digital marketing universe (and to learn how to use this information to benefit your brand), be sure to subscribe to our newsletter below.


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