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App or Browser? Depends What Consumers Are Doing

Apps preferred for navigating and information gathering; mobile web for entertainment, searches

February 9, 2012 | Mobile

Mobile is more and more a go-to channel to reach consumers. With more than 75% of the US population now subscribing to a mobile phone service, according to eMarketer, and nearly 114 million consumers expected to access the internet via mobile this year, mobile is a no-brainer for marketers.

But since many marketers are just launching mobile programs, uncertainties abound, including whether consumers prefer mobile apps or the mobile web. While the debate rages over that question, a Jumptap study of ad requests served over the past year shows a slight lead for the mobile web. But ads served to both the web and mobile apps are growing at a similar rate.

Mobile Ad Requests Served by Jumptap, Mobile Web vs. App, Jan-Dec 2011 (% of total)

In a press release, Jumptap points out that for marketers trying to decide whether to build an app or mobile site, the answer clearly depends on the audiences they’re looking to target: “One thing to remember is you don’t have to have either to advertise—even if an advertiser doesn’t have an app or a mobile website, they can still have a mobile landing page.”

A study by Yahoo! and Ipsos presents a different answer to the question of whether consumers prefer apps or the web. Their findings show that it depends what activity consumers are performing.

Mobile Internet Tasks for Which US Smartphone Users Use a Mobile App vs. Browser, 2011 (% of total)

People overwhelmingly use a mobile browser for shopping, searching and accessing entertainment via their smartphones. But when they are navigating or acquiring information, apps are preferred.

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Check out today’s other articles, “Video Game Consoles Continue Rise as Connected-TV Platforms” and “Half of Internet Users in Brazil Go Online Daily.”



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