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Social Apps Gaining Popularity, Mobile Games Reaching Saturation

28 Apr

Social networking apps are on the rise, but you didn’t need us to tell you that. Just check out the headlines and huge dollar amounts being thrown at certain, popular social apps by other, larger social networks. In the world of mobile apps, being social (and being good at it) is a big deal.

The mobile analytics and advertising company Flurry put together the raw stats on the rise of social networking apps, and here’s the kicker: They now equal games. Rather, the average amount of time that a smartphone owner spends on social networking apps – roughly 24 minutes out of every day – now equals the average amount of time spent on games, also 24 minutes.

If that doesn’t sound like much of a big deal due to the relatively small amount of time involved, consider the percentages: Using 110 billion application sessions as its market audience, Flurry representatives calculated that smartphone owners use apps for an average of 77 minutes each day. Thirty-one percent of that app time is devoted to games and 31 percent is devoted to social networking apps. Together, smartphone owners spend nearly two-thirds of their daily smartphone app time socializing or shooting (depending on your gaming preference).

Still not impressed? How about the fact that the social networking category upset a 40-month streak by the gaming category as the top app activity? Just last year, smartphone owners played games for an average of 25 out of 68 minutes of total app activity each day — or 37 percent. Social networking apps took up only 15 minutes of a user’s daily app allowance, or approximately 22 percent.

Put the napkin down, for we’ve done the math for you: Social networking app activity has risen nine percent between the first quarters of 2011 and 2012, whereas game app activity has coughed up three percent of its share.

“We take the rise in Social Networking apps as a signal of maturation for the platform,” wrote Flurry vice president Peter Farago. “As game demand may be hitting its saturation point, consumers are also discovering other apps, namely Social Networking.”

But that’s not all. Following the money, Flurry found that game advertising revenues within its AppCircle network remained relatively stagnant between February and April, anywhere from 35 to 36 percent of all advertising revenue calculated for iOS and Android. In contrast, advertising revenue for social networking apps jumped 13 percent within the same period and now beats mobile gaming advertising revenue by a mighty one percent.

“The rise of Social Networking apps also signals the end of the era of gaming dominance within mobile apps. While the free-to-play business model performs extremely well, enabled by in-app-purchases, it does so primarily for simulation games, a sub-genre of the total games category,” Farago wrote.

“However, as we reach saturation for mobile gaming on a per user basis (one consumer can play only so many free-to-play games), the Games category could start behaving more like a ‘zero sum game’ from here on out, meaning that game companies would have to fight over a finite group of consumers in order to grow their businesses,” he adds.

 

For more tech tidbits from David Murphy, follow him on Facebook or Twitter (@thedavidmurphy).

For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.

Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2403715,00.asp

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