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IPhone owners beat out Android for monthly gaming app usage: report

Roughly 86 percent of iPhone users play mobile games compared to 76 percent of Android owners, according to a new survey from Arbitron Mobile.

The December 2012 ?Arbitron Mobile Trends Panel? report looked at how mobile gaming is split between users of different operating systems. In addition to gaming, the report also breaks down other common activities that consumers complete on their mobile devices.

?The most surprising finding from the Arbitron Mobile December gaming data is that the smartphone platform seems to drive gaming behavior,? said Derrik Dennis, director of sales and business development at Arbitron Mobile, Columbia, MD.

?The biggest advice Arbitron Mobile can give to marketers is to look at consumer smartphone behavior holistically across platforms, app usage, browsing behavior and general engagement trends,? he said.

Game on
Arbitron Mobile?s findings are made up of approximately 12,000 consumers in the United States that are 18-years old or older and own an iPhone, Android or BlackBerry smartphone. Users in the study voluntarily installed a software meter onto their device for the company to record their activity.

Mobile gamers represent 78.8 percent of the survey group.

Interestingly, these users are spending longer amounts of time inside gaming applications than in other types of applications. Mobile gamers as a group spent almost an average of ten hours inside mobile gaming apps during the month of December.

When broken up by operating system, iPhone users spent 12 hours and 23 monthly minutes inside game apps in December. Android users on the other hand spent approximately eight hours and 22 minutes inside gaming apps.

The higher amount of time for iPhone users directly correlates to the average number of app sessions per month. IPhone owners averaged 151.5 sessions, and Android users completed 94.6 sessions per month.

The study also looked at the different functions that consumers use their mobile devices for besides gaming. For example, 78.8 percent of consumers surveyed accessed social media from their smartphones.

Mobile messaging ? which includes both SMS and MMS ? was used by 96.4 percent of users, showing the reach that the channel has for marketers.

Similarly, 99.3 percent of mobile device owners used their mobile devices for browsing.

Different games
One of the major challenges in mobile gaming is finding an app that will stick with consumers for a long period of time.

The Words with Friends app tops the list of mobile games that consumers are consistently using.

Twenty-six percent of IPhone owners and 16 percent of Android users played Words with Friends. IPhone users averaged 79 sessions per month compared to 62 sessions from Android owners.

Scramble with Friends was the second most popular mobile game, representing ten percent of iPhone and Android users. The app averaged 25.7 game sessions per month across both operating systems.

The least most popular app was Songpop, which only represent 6.1 percent of Android and iPhone owners. The average user completed 20.5 gaming sessions.

Monetization ? whether it is through in-app upgrades or paid apps ? will be key in marketers keeping mobile users? attentions this year.

?In 2013, we expect to see in-app purchasing to enhance or extend the gaming experience as a factor in driving the mobile gaming business,? Mr. Dennis said. ?Arbitron Mobile also sees increasing gaming app usage on tablets in 2013.?   

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York