Flurry Analytics’ Mary Ellen Gordon, PhD, notes that all advertisers seek to deliver the right message to the right person at the right moment, observinfg that if content is king, then context is queen – particularly when it comes to our use ofmobile devices.
Dr. Gordon says that while smartphones and tablets are often lumped together as smart, mobile, or connected devices, their use patterns vary by person and by context. In her latest Flurry blog, she we explores context as it relates to iOS devices, discusses who is most likely to uses each device respectively, and which devices are most frequently used in the conduct of users lives and best suit their personalities, and the time of day their heaviest usage tends to take place.
Because Android and iOS devices have different audiences, Dr. Gordon focuses only on iPhone and iPad in this report. Flurry’s reseaarch methodology currently measures activity on 397 million active iOS devices, and this particular analysis is based on usage during May of a random sample of 44,295 of those (iPhone and iPad only; iPod touch was not included). A future report will discuss usage patterns on Android tablets and smartphones.
iPhone Goes Out; iPad Stays In
Dr. Gordon explains that Flurry has developed a set of Personas in which device users are assigned to psychographic segments based on their app usage. An individual person may be in more than one Persona because they over-index on a variety of types of apps. Those who own more than one device may not be assigned to the same Personas on all of their devices because their app usage patterns may not be the same across devices.
She says Flurry began this analysis by considering what share of iOS devices used by members of each persona were iPhone and iPad. As shown in the everyone benchmark in the chart below, overall iPhone had a 72% share and iPad had 28%. The Personas shown above the Everyone bar skew more toward iPhone than the general population of iOS device owners, while the Personas shown below the Everyone bar skew more toward iPad.
Beginning at the top, the numbers illustrate that Personas on the move skew most heavily toward iPhone: Value Shoppers use iPhone to scan barcodes and find bargains, and Singles and Hip Urban Lifestylers use them to socialize. iPhone represents more than 90% of iOS devices (excluding iPod) owned by members of those Personas.
Somewhat surprisingly, Dr. Gordon observes, the same is also true of New Moms, who may still be on the move, but in pursuit of the goods, services, and support they need for their new babies. The results reveal that New Moms may also have less free time to participate in leisure activities like reading and gaming which are more heavily associated with the iPad.
However, it’s also apparent that moms’ device usage changes as their children get older, with moms in general (as opposed to New Moms) being one of the Personas that skew most toward the iPad. Dr. Gordon notes that both evidence from other sources and anecdotal observation suggest that this is likely to be at least partially attributable to Moms using their tablets to entertain and educate older children, underscored by the fact that the Parenting and Education Persona skews toward iPads.
Moving to the bottom of the chart, the Personas that heavily favor iPad are associated with home-oriented activities, including not only Pet Owners and Home Design Enthusiasts, but also Small Business Owners, who may work from home. Gamers also skew more heavily toward iPad.
iPad Is For Learning and Playing — Not Navigating
Dr. Gordon says the amount of time iPhone and iPad owners spend in different categories of apps also supports the overall pattern of iPhone going out and iPad staying in. To wit: iPad owners in the Flurry sample spent 42% more time in apps on their devices than iPhone owners during May, but that time varied significantly by category. As shown in the chart below, compared to iPad owners, iPhone owners spent more than 13 times us much time using Navigation apps. They spent more than five times as much time using Health and Fitness apps to do things such as tracking walks, runs, and bike rides.
The app categories for which average time spent on iPad exceeds that for iPhone are Education, Newsstand, Games, and Reference. Again, more home-oriented activities.
iPad Is For Evening; iPhone Is For Late Night
THe Flurry report notes that time spent using iPhone and iPad apps is distributed throughout the day, and as might be expected based on the previous discussion and conventional wisdom about iPad, its heaviest period of use comes between 6 pm and 11 pm – times when most people have downtime for activities such as games and reading. iPhone app usage also peaks during that time, but the absolute amount of time on iPad and the percentage of app use that occurs during those hours is greater, and both of those differences are statistically significant.
The situation reverses as the night wears on, and between 2 am and 4 am usage is greater in iPhone apps than in iPad apps. This may be insomniacs reaching for phones at their bedside or Singles and Hip Urban Lifestylers finding their way home from a late night.
Dr. Gordon says that what is perhaps most surprising about the distribution of time on each device throughout the day is how consistent the patterns are especially during the 6 am to 4 pm interval. Given that the iPhone is used more of an out-and-about device and the iPad being more of a stay-at-at home device, Flurry deduces that this is a function of varied lifestyles, with owners of different devices being at home and out-and-about at different times.
Multiple Devices, Multiple Personalities?
She notes that while the study focused primarily on differences between iPad and iPhone owners, obviously an increasing number of people own both devices, and while the scope of this particular study id nit does not enable researching the linkages of the same user across his or her different devices, Flurry researchers believe that individuals may express different parts of their personalities and lifestyles through their usage of different devices. For example, by night a person in the Single and Hip Urban Lifestyle Personas may use her iPhone to organize her social life. By day that same person may use her iPad to run her interior design business, putting her in Flurry’s Small Business and Home Design Enthusiast Personas as well.
Dr. Gordon concludes that analyisis of persona, usage situation and device is important for app developers and advertisers, with for example, a single small business owner potentially being more receptive to work-oriented apps and ads on her iPad, and to play-oriented apps and ads on her iPhone, noting that savvy app developers and advertisers will increasingly factor contextual differences such as those into their market development and targeting plans.
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