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80pc of time spent in just five apps: Forrester

Marketers? rush to develop branded mobile applications overlooks how consumers are spending a significant portion of their app time with several high-utility apps, according to Forrester Research. 

The new Forrester report, ?2015 Mobile App Marketing Trends: Orchestrate Your Brand Presence, Beyond Your Own Apps, By Borrowing Mobile Moments,? explores marketers? decisions to invest significant resources into building their own branded apps because research suggests consumers spend a majority of their mobile time on apps. However, new Forrester data shows that, on average, consumers in the United States and Britain use 24 apps per month but spend more than 80 percent of the time in their five most time-consuming apps.

?Marketers should borrow their way to their customers? home screens by partnering with the few apps that command the majority of consumers? mobile prime time,? said Thomas Husson,? Paris-based vice president and principal analyst for marketing and strategy at Forrester Research, in a blog post about the report. 

Getting discovered
Popular time consuming apps in the US include Facebook, Youtube, Maps, Pandora and Gmail.

Forrester?s research shows that time spent on apps skews heavily towards messaging and social, more so than games. 

With the top five most consumed apps in the U.S. representing 28 percent of time spent on all apps, many branded apps will not be used or even discovered, according to Forrester. 

For this reason, the research firm urges marketers to rethink their app strategy with a stronger focus on engaging users on frequently used third-party apps while not abandoning their branded apps. 

Marketers should look to borrow mobile moments in popular apps

Forrester?s suggestions include advertising on apps with significant reach, such as Facebook and WhatsApp. 

Marketers can also use deep linking to enable movement across apps. 

These should be supplemented with mobile Web strategies for customer acquisition. 

Customer overlap
Key for developing a third-party app strategy is to identify the overlap between the most engaging apps and the most popular apps among a brand?s customer base. 

From here, marketers need to leverage content and context to tell a story that is relevant to the mobile user in that moment. 

The goal should be to start a conversation more than to deliver an ad. 

According to Forrester?s App Engagement Index, only a few apps offer real engagement with users, including Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter and WhatsApp. However, marketers should keep in mind that these apps either do not have or only recently introduced mobile advertising. 

There are also steps marketers can take to bolster their own branded apps, including connecting them to marketing and CRM systems to provide more personalization and contextual experiences. 

Forrester also highlights the challenges marketers face monetizing apps. 

?If monetizing apps is not marketers? primary goal, they should learn from the most profitable app publishers by quantifying their marketing goals, exploring new app business models, and mastering acquisition costs to recruit loyal users,? Mr. Husson said. 

Final Take
?Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Marketer, New York