The One Thing You Should Pay Attention To

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People hated Wired Magazine for saying that "the Web is dead." Think they were wrong?

The article, The Web Is Dead. Long Live The Internet, was published in Wired Magazine in September 2010 and it caused a flurry of conversation (online and off). It’s not even a year later and the news item, Flurry: Time Spent On Mobile Apps Has Surpassed Web Browsing, was published on TechCrunch this past week. So, we’re spending more time on mobile apps than we are on Web browsing.

Still think that the Web isn’t dead?

OK, that last line was a red herring, but this is a huge shift in media that begs for you attention. From the TechCrunch article:

"Flurry says that daily time spent in mobile apps has now surpassed web consumption. The average user now spends 9% more time using mobile apps than the Internet. In June users spent an average of 81 minutes daily on mobile apps, compared to 74 minutes on the web. This compares to 66 minutes on mobile apps daily in December of 2010, and 70 minutes spent daily on the web. And June, the average user spent just under 43 minutes a day using mobile applications versus an average 64 minutes using the Internet. Flurry says that the growth in mobile app usage is a result of more sessions during the day per user, as opposed to an increase in session length. So basically, users are checking Twitter and Foursquare more often as opposed to spending more time in the apps in any given session."

Whether or not the numbers in this report are perfect isn’t relevant. Let’s say that mobile apps usage is the same as Web browsing… or even a little less, you can’t deny the rapid ascent and what this means as more of our world becomes untethered. If you couple this with IDC‘s recent statistic that more smartphones were sold in Q4 of last year than PCs, this shift is happening at a fast and furious pace.

It feels like Marketers are unprepared… or am I being too hard on our industry?


  1. Are you being too hard on marketers? That’s a tough call. Here’s the problem I see… the majority of B2B companies are still having trouble wrapping their heads about the Web. I know a Fortune 300 just about to launch eCommerce. (eek, talk about laggard) They still scoff at social media for the most part, although they dabble for fear they will miss something. I also know companies that don’t even give their marketing staff cell phones, much less Smart phones. Sure, we’re seeing a shift, at an exponentially fast pace, but in some respects the marketers can only work with what they’ve got.

  2. Mitch,
    I would like to know answers for 2 questions.
    1. If the number of minutes spent on web every day has increased from 70 minutes to 74 minutes, how is the web on the decline? Going from the numbers, it shows that both web and mobile apps are on the incline, where mobile apps have a faster rate of growth.
    2. Are these numbers from US alone or whole world? The reason I’m asking this is: I’m from India. In our country, most people have basic phone and it is normally people below 30 (mostly) who use apps, unlike in US or developed countries, where people from all age groups use mobile apps. I don’t have any stats for this. Maybe someone can dig it up. This is not just in India. There are many countries where people have easier access to the web than mobile apps. So how relevant is this study to the whole world?
    I had to ask these questions because I recently finished reading “How to Lie With Statistics” book ๐Ÿ™‚
    – Ram

  3. I’ve been saying the web is dead for at least a year. And no magazine covers for me.
    Just goes to show how dumb the world is.

  4. I love how you always capitalize “Marketers.” Makes it sound like a noble occupation – which indeed it is.
    Here’s something that makes me very uncomfortable, though. As the Internet becomes an increasingly mobile experience, it’s becoming more difficult to persuade visitors to perform your calls to action.
    Let’s face it. I found your link on Twitter and read the article on my iPod, but now I’m on my MacBook Air to leave a comment. Typing a serious discussion doesn’t make sense on post-PC devices. From a marketing standpoint, it isn’t easy capturing email addresses in mobile either. People just want to read, and they’re gone.
    iOS 5 won’t help this. As I understand it, Apple is adding an alternative experience in Safari that strips away the “clutter” of Web sites and leaves you with a feed-based viewing of just the site’s content. That’s going to kill so many business models…
    Mitch, you’re not being too hard on marketers; Apple is, and every other company that sees the future of consumer experience.

  5. I agree that marketers have fallen behind, but we all have. As a designer and frontend developer I am in a constant mode of learning about the next thing. It is mobile now and refrigerators and appliances tomorrow. Our processes have to change radically to keep up with the unknown. Whatever our profession… business, marketing or design, we need to be more “Responsive”.

  6. I don’t think you’re being to hard on marketers, for the most part, they’ve been used to a mostly static environment. Thus evolving in this fast paced world when you need to understand/play with products/content (rather than just selling it) is much more difficult.
    For the Web is dead, I think it’s was and still a troll. The Web is evolving no matter which device you use – cars (post-PC) or trucks (PCs), it’s still the Web. But yeah marketers are definitly not prepared…

  7. The research says the data is only for USA. So I really don’t understand how that can be implemented as decline or death of web in general. From the data and the method Flurry has used, it is not even as clear to conclude that the web is in decline in USA.

  8. I must be part of a dwindling minority that does not have a mobile phone or Smart phone, and is quite content with my MacBook being my point of contact with the web. It isn’t hard to see the proliferation of Smartphones, though, with all the young generation texting madly away while riding the bus or waiting for appointments.
    That’s sad news that Apple is introducing a Safari alternative to strip away webpage content into feed. Messes with my attention span…

  9. Hi Mitch,
    We’re all running behind on technology. I completely agree with Michael, we need to shift to some sort of agile campaigning.
    But how does that work? I’m not quite sure. I’m not even sure how to use mobile as a marketing platform. Could you shine some light on this in a new post?

  10. I think that’s Mitch’s point though. You’re worried about what Apple will do to veto your marketing experience rather than thinking of the potential possibilities it opens up. What if there was an app that made buying anywhere as easy as buying on Amazon? You’d remove a lot of the current data-barriers to sales. Just an example.

  11. In terms of having a variety of options to reach the market, you should have a mobile SITE. There really is no excuse not to and you are not being hard on them. The complexity and characteristics of the site varies from industry to industry but even a general site with “about us,” “contact” and offerings is a fairly easy must have.
    Now a “native app” is a whole different story. Is it worth it for your business to invest in a native app for six mobile operating systems? Maybe it is nowadays, the price may be lower as more developers master it.
    You should still have a presence as part of your marketing plan.

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