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App engagement surpasses desktop in US: comScore

The United States, Canada and Britain are now mobile first ? and increasingly mobile only - in terms of digital consumer behavior, but not all content is keeping up, according to a new report from comScore. 

ComScore?s Global Mobile Report found that the U.S. has the highest skew of usage time towards mobile, with 61 percent of time spent on mobile versus 39 percent on desktop. Digging deeper in usage habits, comScore found that smartphone apps account for 43 percent of usage time in the U.S., desktop 39 percent, smartphone browser 6 percent, tablet apps 10 percent and tablet browser 2 percent. 

?The big news is that all three markets (US, Canada, UK) are ?mobile-first? markets, meaning more than half of all digital media time is being spent on mobile in those countries,? said Adam Lella, senior marketing insights analyst at comScore. ?Millennials are the ones leading this shift in behavior, and this is predominantly because of their heavy smartphone usage. 

?In the US, 18-34 year-olds spend 61 percent of their digital time on smartphones, and in Canada and the UK it?s approximately 50 percent of time spent on this device,? he said. ?Marketers must be on mobile if they?re trying to reach the highly coveted 18-34 year-old demographic.?

Mobile only
in a review of mobile usage in the United States, Britain and Canada, comSore found that in Britain, the split is 56 percent on mobile versus 44 percent on desktop while in Canada it is 52 percent mobile and 48 percent desktop. 

Smartphone apps have not yet claimed the top spot in Britain and Canada. In the former, desktop accounts for 44 percent of usage time and smartphone apps 34 percent. In Canada, desktop claims 48 percent of usage time and smartphone apps 31 percent. 

One of the more surprising findings is that audience for many digital properties is increasingly mobile-only, with 49 percent audience for the Top 100 digital properties in the U.S. mobile only. In Britain, its 48 percent and in Canada, 34 percent. 

?Nearly half of the average audience for the Top 100 digital media properties in the US and UK only visits on mobile - in Canada it?s about one-third of their audience,? Mr. Lella said. ?Those companies that haven?t optimized the experience on mobile - either via app or their Web site - are potentially losing a huge portion of their audience.?

Mobile content
By age group, millennials in the U.S. spend 61 percent of their digital media time on smartphones, 31 percent on desktop and 8 percent on tablets. In the 35 to 54 age group, the allocation is 50 percent on smartphones, 37 percent on desktop and 13 percent on tablets. 

Again, Britain and Canada trail in terms of smartphone use by millennials and those in 35 to 54 age group. 

Desktop Internet usage still accounts for a big portion of usage time among those over 55 years old. 

By type of content, entertainment commands 23 percent of users? digital time in the US while social accounts for 21 percent. 

In all three markets, the vast majority of social media consumption occurs on mobile apps, driven largely by smartphones. The smartphone app is the dominant social platform in the U.S., accounting for 57 percent of all social media time spent. In Canada, the smartphone app accounts 47 percent of social media time and in Britain, 47 percent. 

The top three content categories that over-index for mobile in the U.S. are radio, photos and books. In Canada, they are photos, coupons and online gaming. In Britain, books, incentives and coupons take the top spots. 

Overall, the most mobile categories are gaming, coupons, photos and IM, showing that mobile is for entertainment, sharing, communication and other on-the-go utilities. 

Extending reach
The most mobile destinations in the U.S. are, which sees 87percent of its audience on mobile,, with 85 percent of its audience on mobile, and Myspace, at 84 percent. 

In Canada, the leading mobile properties are Snapchat, 97 percent, Samsung Group, 84 percent, and, 70 percent. 

In Britain, they are Snapchat, 98 percent,, 90 percent, and 65Twenty, 87 percent. 

The report found that these properties can extend their desktop reach by a substantial amount when accounting for incremental mobile traffic. Top properties often expand their desktop audience by 30 percent or more when accounting for mobile. 

?We know that incremental mobile traffic ? for the average Top 100 properties ? extends a media property?s desktop reach by 40 to 80 percent, and for some properties ? and some demographics, i.e. 18-34 year-olds ? this incremental reach could be much higher,? Mr. Lella said. 

?Marketers need to consider the full multi-platform audiences of publishers when making decisions about how and where to allocate their advertising budgets if they want to reach the most people in their target demographic.?

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