Sofia | Aug 03, 2020

Welcome to the new primetime

It’s no secret that TV viewership has been declining, and it’s not just traditional primetime series. Live viewing events like the Olympics, the Emmys and even NFL football that used to attract massive, engaged audiences (i.e., advertiser’s gold) have seen a dramatic fall in ratings.

And, anyone who has been following this saga of ups and downs – well, mostly downs (NFL pun intended) – that has marked the broadcast media landscape over the past few months can’t help but notice how “cord cutters” and “mobile Millennials” kept getting blamed for the lower view count on what used to be must-see TV events like the Olympics, the Emmys and now, “Football Night in America.”

While there are many factors that are contributing to this trend, one that we’ve witnessed is how consumers are no longer dedicating large, predictable (8-11pm) blocks of time to television. Instead, their media time is split, fragmented across screens and platforms, and it is also split into smaller chunks of time throughout the course of a day.

The average iPhone user opens their phone 80 times a day, and a study of Android users showed a similar number – 76 phone sessions a day. That means during waking hours, mobile users open their phone about once every 13 minutes.

These “mobile breaks” might last a few seconds, or they might last a few minutes or more; it all depends on the user, the time of day, which types of apps they are using. What we’ve seen on our platform this quarter is that the total amount of time spent in the Top 100 apps is consistently increasing, from 30 minutes in Q1 to 33.5 minutes in Q2, and now reaching 36.9 minutes in Q3. That’s a 20.5% jump in just six months.

And, while the average amount of time that mobile users spend with apps is around five minutes – with Games, Media & Entertainment on the high end, and Social Networking and eCommerce on the low end – the average session time in the Top 100 on Opera Mediaworks’ platform has stayed steady at around 9-10 minutes throughout 2016.

Mobile app loyalty on the rise

This quarter, however, we also observed that the number of sessions, that is, the amount of times a user is opening up apps to use them, has gone from an average of 3.6 sessions to just over 4 sessions sessions per day. How many people do you know that turn on the same TV or radio station an average of 4 times over the course of a single day?

This is the first significant leap in average session volume since the beginning of the year, and it shows that mobile users are becoming more dedicated to the apps that they use regularly, opening them more frequently and consuming their content more often.

This shift in ‘mobile app loyalty’ demonstrates a shift toward trusted apps, as consumers more deeply integrate the apps with daily utility and entertainment into their digital lives.

Mobile is the go-to source for news & information

News & Information continues to be the no. 1 category for impressions, with 28.5% market share, though Games trails by less than one percentage point, with a 27.7% share. While Social Networking and Communications Services held the same ranking as last quarter, Music, Video & Media leapt up in the ranking to capture the no. 5 position, above Sports.

Back to school season

In Q3, ad campaigns that were served in the Family & Parenting category had the highest engagement levels, likely due to the Back to School season of August and September. Education, Travel and Games remained strong for CTR, and a new entrance to the top 5 is Business, Finance and Investing.

Family & Parenting, while representing just a small share of impressions, was also the strongest category for conversions, followed by Games. Hobbies & Interests also had low volume but the ads that were served performed well. Shopping and Sports rounded out the top five.

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