Social is more important than Search, bigger than most TV networks and deeply interconnected with Mobile

Although it is still relatively new as far as media entities go, BuzzFeed has become one of the leading new-media players, thanks in large part to its command of the social web, an ability to craft viral content and a large fan base among millennials. True to form, the company has created a visually-rich index of factsabout its size and reach — numbers which help explain how it was able to raise $50 million in a recent financing round.

As a caveat, it’s worth noting that the presentation is clearly designed to be a sales pitch for the company’s native advertising efforts, and so there are no links to or discussion of any of the data used to compile the charts. Most of the figures come courtesy of the site’s Google Analytics data, or from firms like Nielsen and comScore.

One of the core principles behind BuzzFeed is that social sharing is more important than search, so it’s no surprise that the main driver of traffic (which is estimated to be about 150 million unique visitors per month) is social — in fact, the company says that its social traffic is five times larger than its search traffic.

Search vs. Social2

Although social has grown to become one of the leading sources of traffic to most web content, the advertising industry still hasn’t quite caught up to this development, as shown by a BuzzFeed graph courtesy of eMarketer and Shareaholic — which says that social accounts for 30 percent of referral traffic but only 14 percent of advertising budgets.

Search vs. social

The other major shift in content consumption is mobile, and according to BuzzFeed the two are interconnected, in the sense that a majority of the site’s social traffic comes from mobile, and its share rates on mobile are twice as high as they are from its desktop users.

Mobile and social

BuzzFeed said mobile also accounts for a rapidly growing amount of video consumption, including 50 percent of all the video that the site produces, and this is particularly the case among millennial users. As a result of its focus on that market, BuzzFeed says that its reach is larger than several leading TV networks, including Fox, CNN and MTV — and among millennials it is larger still, putting the site ahead of most of the major networks, including NBC.

BuzzFeed reach

Obviously, BuzzFeed’s statistics are designed to promote its advertising appeal. And as with any form of web measurement, the sources it has chosen have their flaws — Google Analytics has a tendency to over-estimate certain kinds of traffic, while Nielsen and comScore have a tendency to under-estimate other kinds, including traffic from corporate networks (and BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti has said one of his secret weapons is the “bored at work” network).

Some of the conclusions suggested by the BuzzFeed numbers are also debatable: for example, some media analysts argue that social is not as good as search — even if the raw traffic number is larger — because search is a better indicator of purchasing intent. As for video views, TV insiders would no doubt argue that their viewership is more loyal than someone watching a viral video on their mobile device.

Those caveats aside, however, the numbers BuzzFeed is generating are still quite impressive for what is still a relatively young company.

[Source: GigaOM and BuzzFeed]

Retail is the Fastest Growing Usage Category on Smartphones in Italy

The latest insights from our comScore Mobile Advisor Study show that the Total Italy Mobile Universe accounted for 48,000,000 users in the three-month average ending November 2013. Smartphone users represent 64.1 percent of the total Italian mobile audience, an increase of 23.5 percent from the previous year.

Mobile commerce is already playing a major role in online retail in Italy. These are some of the key findings:

  • Usage of retail apps and sites showed the strongest year-over-year increase of 74.8 percent, followed by the Health category with 66.6% growth. The e-payments and money transfer category came third with 65.2 percent growth and over 2 Million additional users over the last year.
  • Financial and retail / m-commerce related services belong to the most popular usage categories accessed by Italian smartphone owners. Online retail sites and apps were visited by 23.8 percent of smartphone owners, followed closely by shopping and price guides (22.6 percent).
  • Accessing electronic payments or money transfer services on smartphones has also been popular, with 21.7 percent of Italian smartphone owners using those services in November 2013.

If you would like to access to the full report contact us worldpress@comscore.com

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[Source: ComScore]

App Annie Index: 2013 Retrospective – Mobile Top Trends of 2013

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App Annie reviews 2013’s top mobile app industry findings, ranging from major country moves to social messaging apps evolution to platforms.

2013 was a milestone year for mobile apps and app stores alike, setting the stage for exciting new opportunities in 2014. Over the last year we saw many new trends including significant growth in emerging markets, a dramatic shift in game spending on mobile and the global expansion of social messaging platforms. In this App Annie Annual Index, we will uncover a variety of trends and insights to guide you in making smart business decisions.

Specifically, this App Annie Index 2013 Retrospective report recaps the top headline trends of 2013 with insights to the top-growing countries, categories, app stores, and more. The report shows the causes of this growth, giving you insights into the trends and markets you can’t ignore for the upcoming year.

Mobile flexes its revenue-generating muscle for games, outperforming handhelds on both iOS App Store and Google Play for most of 2013.

Some key insights from this 2013 Retrospective report include:

  • US, South Korea, and Japan are leaders in app store revenue, however BRIC countries and 5 other regions outpaced these superpowers in download and revenue growth.

  • Gamers worldwide are increasingly favoring their iPhones and Androids over 3DS’s and Vitas. Both iOS App Store and Google Play experienced a surge in app store game revenue, vaulting them ahead of handhelds in 2013 for the first time ever.

  • Freemium as a business model continued to be massively successful for a range of app categories in 2013, with games seeing the most money. Developers were able to find creative ways to incentivize in-app purchases by consumers.

  • Messaging apps transitioned into social messaging platforms, diversifying not only their product offerings, but also their revenue streams. Moving beyond their home countries, they added e-commerce, books and music capabilities.

Screenshot 2014-01-30 18.10.45

[Source: App Annie]

The Average Smartphone User Has Installed 26 Apps

The average smartphone user in South Korea has downloaded 40 apps — the highest number in the world and well above the global average of 26 downloads.

South Korean smartphone users pay for just 2.7 of their 40 downloaded apps on average, which is way fewer than global leader Japan, where smartphone users pay for 17.5 apps, and below the global average of 5.6 paid apps.

Statista created this chart, using data from Google’s Our Mobile Planet, which ranks the top 10 countries where smartphone users download the most apps.

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How many apps have you downloaded on your phone? Let us know in the comments how you compare to the average smartphone user.

Click here to see more statistics from Statista on “Mobile App Usage

[Source: Statista]

App Cost Evolution: iPhone users pay average of 19 cents per app, Android users pay just 6 cents

Many consumer surveys point to an obvious conclusion: most people hate seeing ads on smartphones and tablets. But the truth is, contrary to the desire for an ad-free experience, when faced with the choice between free apps with ads, or paying even $.99 for apps without ads, consumers overwhelmingly choose the free apps and tolerate the ads.

In this post we explore that revealed preference for free content over content free of ads by examining four years worth of pricing information for the nearly 350,000 apps that use Flurry Analytics.

Our Apps Tell A Story

Each time we download an app, we reveal a little bit about ourselves. A glance at the apps on your phone can indicate whether you are a fan of sports, gaming, or public radio, and whether you love to hike or cook or travel. But our choices of apps also reveal our individual tolerance for advertising, and how we feel about the trade-off between paying for content directly, or paying indirectly by (implicitly) agreeing to view ads.

In many cases, apps are available in two forms: free (with ads) and paid (no ads). If you truly can’t stand to see ads in apps, you can usually pay $.99 or $1.99 to eliminate the ads and possibly get some additional functionality too. Even when a specific app does not come in paid and free versions, there are often other apps to choose from, free and paid, that perform very similar tasks like calling a taxi or looking up recipes.

So what are consumers choosing? Let’s start by considering iOS apps since they have been available for longer than Android apps. Note that all of our measurements in this post are weighted by user numbers so the apps with more users contribute more to the total trend.

People Want Content To Be Free

The chart below shows how the proportion of free versus paid apps has changed over the years in the App Store. Between 2010 and 2012 the percentage of apps using Flurry Analytics that were free varied between 80% and 84%, but by 2013, 90% of apps in use were free.

Chart 1 resized 600

Some might argue that this supports the idea that “content wants to be free”. We don’t see it quite that way. Instead, we simply see this as the outcome of consumer choice: people want free content more than they want to avoid ads or to have the absolute highest quality content possible. This is a collective choice that could have played out differently and could still in particular contexts (e.g., enterprise apps or highly specialized apps such as those tracking medical or financial information).

Android Users Are Even Less Willing to Pay For Apps

Up until now, we have focused on iOS apps because they have been around longer, but what about Android? Conventional wisdom (backed by a variety of non-Flurry surveys) is that Android users tend to be less affluent and less willing to pay for things than iOS users. Does the app pricing data support that theory? Resoundingly.

As of April 2013, the average price paid for Android apps (including those where the price was free) was significantly less than for iPhone and iPad apps as shown below. This suggests that Android owners want app content to be free even more than iOS device users, implying that Android users are more tolerant of in-app advertising to subsidize the cost of developing apps.

chart 2 resized 600

These results also support another belief derived from surveys and some transaction data: iPad users tend to be bigger spenders than owners of other devices, including iPhone. On average, the price of iPad apps in use in April of this year was more than 2.5 times that of iPhone apps and more than 8 times that of Android apps. This is likely to be at least partly attributable to the fact that on average iPad owners have higher incomes than owners of other devices.

Developers’ Pricing Decisions Were Data-Driven

On the surface, the rise of free apps could be seen as herding behavior: maybe app developers saw how much free competition there was and decided to make their apps free too. It’s certainly possible that may have happened in some instances, but by digging deeper into app pricing patterns over time, we were able to see that many developers took a much more thoughtful approach to pricing.

We looked at historical iOS app data (again because iOS apps have a longer history) to identify apps that have been the subjects of pricing experiments. That typically took the form of A/B testing, where an app was one price for a period of time then the price was raised or lowered for a period of time, then raised or lowered again. This lets developers assess users’ willingness to pay (i.e., price elasticity of demand) based on the number of downloads at different price points.

The chart below shows the percentage of tested and untested apps that were free (again, weighted by user numbers). The vast majority of untested apps in green were free all along, so it’s most interesting to look at the trend among apps that were subject to pricing experiments, in blue. As shown, there was an upward trend in the proportion of price-tested apps that went from paid to free. This implies that many of the developers who ran pricing experiments concluded that charging even $.99 significantly reduced demand for their apps.

PricingExperiments FA2

The People Have Spoken; It’s Time To Change The Conversation.

While consumers may not like in-app advertising, their behavior makes it clear that they are willing to accept it in exchange for free content, just as we have in radio, TV and online for decades. In light of that, it seems that the conversation about whether apps should have ads is largely over. Developers of some specialized apps may be able to monetize through paid downloads, and game apps sometimes generate significant revenue through in-app purchases, but since consumers are unwilling to pay for most apps, and most app developers need to make money somehow, it seems clear that ads in apps are a sure thing for the foreseeable future. Given that, we believe it’s time to shift the conversation away from whether there should be ads in apps at all, and instead determine how to make ads in apps as interesting and relevant as possible for consumers, and as efficient and effective as possible for advertisers and developers.

[Source: Flurry]

Automator for Mobile: “If This Then That” available for iPhone

If This Then That (IFTTT) is now available for iPhone.

If you’re not familiar, IFTTT is a service that lets you connect two different apps or services together based on specific parameters, in a way that makes using both services a lot more useful. Think of it as a string that ties together everything you use on your computer or phone.

Connections between things on IFTTT are called recipes. Exceptionally simple to use, all you have to do is specify the “This” and the “That” of your equation to create your own recipe.

For instance, you might ask IFTTT to save all the photos you upload to Flickr to your Dropbox, or send you an SMS message whenever you’re tagged in a photo on Facebook.

Previously available only on the web, the service officially launched for iOS Thursday, bringing with it a few new iPhone-specific features.

“We’re always trying to make things easier for users,” Devin Foley, IFTTT’s mobile lead toldMashable. “We think the app is a great step forward in simplifying the process of connecting channels together, and making recipes and using them.”

IFTTTapp

The IFTTT iPhone app adds support for the Contacts, Photos and Reminders functionality on your iPhone; this means you can set IFTTT up to interact with those functions in unique and useful ways.

For instance, each time you take a photo with your phone’s forward-facing camera, you could have the image backed up on Google Drive automatically.

With Reminders, you can automatically track those you’ve completed on a spreadsheet. What’s more, when you add a contact to your phone, you can automatically send that person a “Hello!” email containing your own contact information.

The possibilities are endless, but if you’re struggling to come up with ways to use the service, IFTTT has an app-accessible section that includes recipes others have created to help you get started. You can sort shared recipes by what’s featured or trending on IFTTT, as well as recipes that have been the most popular over time.

“100,000 shared recipes have been created on IFTTT so far,” Foley said. It’s a number that will likely get much larger with the introduction of the mobile app.

In addition to helping you create recipes on-the-go, the IFTTT app also shows a timeline view of all of the recipes it has completed for you, as well as a handpicked recipe that the service thinks you’ll find particularly useful.

IFTTT is available now in the App Store.

[Source: Mashable]

iPad customers prefer Landscape mode to Portrait

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Onswipe released the first of its new monthly usage reports today with a few bits of interesting information pertaining to iPad customers. Apparently 59.8 percent of the 127 million users Onswipe tracked prefer landscape mode to portrait mode, which came it at 41.2 percent.

I was surprised when I first read this report, but as I thought about it more, it started to make sense. I know that I don’t really use landscape mode on my iPad for much besides games, videos, and the occasional web page. Most everything else, I prefer portrait mode simply because most of the things I do and the webpages I surf on my iPad are longer than they are wider. Though, once I thought about it, I realized that watching videos and playing games make up a huge part of my iPad usage. So, even though I only use landscape mode for a limited number of tasks, those tasks probably total more of my overall iPad usage than the rest of the things I do with my iPad in portrait mode.

As far as the rest of the report is concerned, it revealed that the iPad is still the king of tablets, accounting for a whopping 94.1 percent of traffic. Amazon’s Kindle Fire came in a distant second place with 4.1 percent of traffic, whereas Android tablets account for a measly 1.8 percent.

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Other interesting tidbits include the fact that tablet and iPhone users are more likely to be on their device at 10 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays than at any other point during the day, iPad users read more web content than iPhone users, and email is a more popular method of sharing content among iPad users than social media.

So, all in all, there’s nothing groundbreaking here but it is definitely interesting to observe the digital habits of our fellow iUsers. How do you fall into this survey – do you prefer landscape or portrait? Surfing the web in the morning on the weekends, or at night on weeknights? Share via Facebook and Twitter, or send emails? Sound off in the comments section below or share your thoughts with me on Twitter.

[Source: Onswipe]