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Understanding consumer mobile usage

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 08 Dec, 2011
Essential Essential topic

Helping inform the app vs browser mobile decision

Value/Importance: [rating=4]

Recommended link: Yahoo mobile modes research

Our commentary on research

I found this research interesting since it set out to understand how users interact with devices on their mobile. We all know from our personal use of mobiles that, if we have a smartphone, we’ll prefer apps for some tasks and browsers for others. This research gives a nice clear statement on what these mobile tasks are:

Mobile usage

An obvious question is “how do mobile tasks differ from PC tasks”? Well, there is surprisingly little difference; the report suggests that mobile usage is similar although with social and search slightly higher on mobile as you would expect:

PC vs mobile modes

The report then goes on to look at app vs browser preference varies by type of task - this is the most useful data to inform the app vs browser decision:

App vs browser usage

Source: Royal Pingdom based on Yahoo! Study

You can see that for social connecting, maps and news there seems to be a clear preference for apps, but for search and most important retail there is a clear preference for browser.

Marketing implications of research

This research looks at the modes of user interaction with their mobiles across the full range of consumers. It likely disguises preferences in particular niches. So it suggests the needs for research amongst an audience of preference before taking the app vs browser-based service decision.

The preference for browser for retail shows that for retailers, a browser-based service which is usable on mobile may be the best option for all but the largest retailers.

Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. 'Dr Dave' is known for his strategic, but practical, data-driven advice. He has trained and consulted with many business of all sizes in most sectors. These include large international B2B and B2C brands including 3M, BP, Barclaycard, Dell, Confused.com, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, M&G Investment, Rentokil Initial, O2, Royal Canin (Mars Group) plus many smaller businesses. Dave is editor of the templates, guides and courses in our digital marketing resource library used by our Business members to plan, manage and optimize their marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is also keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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