Leading web and mobile analytics provider Comscore recently released a group of free reports as the "2013 Digital Future in Focus Series." Their mobile report includes some useful takeaways for musicians and music marketers. Yet it's important to remember that one should focus on the mobile activities of one's own audience or intended audience rather than assuming the aggregate applies to all.
Comscore's "2013 Digital Future in Focus Series" includes three freely downloadable reports, two focused on both web and mobile activites in the U.S. and the UK and one concerning broader mobile usage with a special emphasis on the U.S.
The following data points from the "2013 Mobile Future in Focus" primarily concern the U.S.
"Multi-Platform Consumption is Today's New Reality" (p. 12)
"The digital media landscape is already well into this transition...an unduplicated view of digital media audiences and consumption across desktop computers, smartphones and tablets, reveals that more than 1 in 3 minutes (37 percent) is now spent beyond the PC."
Takeaway: Though "digital first" is a popular mantra at the moment, artists should focus on news and content first with distribution designed for accessibility via desktop computers, smartphones and tablets.
"App Usage, Led by Facebook and Google, Dominates Mobile Web" (p.7)
"Consumers have demonstrated a clear preference for engaging with content on smartphones via apps, which account for 4 out of every 5 mobile minutes, rather than the mobile web....Because of the scarcity of app real estate on the smartphone home-screen, consumers are spending more time concentrated on the apps of major media brands rather than with the long tail of brands."
Takeaway: Not only are consumers showing their preference for mobile apps, artist-branded apps remain a unique enough proposition that their launch can provide additional publicity opportunities. This reality suggests that, for low-budget operations, extra expense for mobile app creation is worthwhile as is investigation of the increasing number of lower cost solutions.
That said, an increasing number of digital media publishers are finding success with HTML5 web apps. Not only does HTML5 continue to improve but such apps also offer an additional marketing hook for publicity purposes.
"Android Owns Majority Share of U.S. Smartphone Users" (p. 28)
"The U.S. smartphone market has seen two platforms, Android and iOS, come to dominate the market over the past few years and now combine for nearly 90 percent of the market. Android captured a majority of the market for the first time in February 2012 and continued to extend its leadership to 53.4 percent by the end of the year. Apple grew its market share nearly 7 percentage points to 36.3 percent in the past year. All other platforms experienced share declines."
Takeaway: Despite the excessive coverage given to iOS apps, in part due to early adoption by tech and media writers, Android apps present an enticing opportunity both in terms of popularity and ease of access to mobile app stores. Apple remains a possibly over-demanding gatekeeper.
Facebook Leads Top 10 Android & iOS Mobile Apps (p. 36)
"Among smartphone apps on the iOS and Android platforms, Facebook finished 2012 strong to capture the #1 position, reaching 3 out of every 4 smartphone users in December 2012."
Takeaway: Given the news that page reach on Facebook may not be as limited as recent months suggested, having an active presence on Facebook remains a potentially powerful mobile alternative to funding and maintaining artist-branded native apps.
Multiple Top 10 Mobile Apps are Relevant to Music Marketing (p. 37)
Top Android Mobile Apps
1) Google Play
6) Cooliris (photos)
Top iOs Mobile Apps
1) Apple iTunes
6) Pandora Radio
Takeaway: Not only does Facebook provide an alternative to artist-branded mobile apps but multiple options exist for reaching mobile fans via channels many artists and music marketers are already exploiting.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Though there are numerous low-cost ways to reach mobile fans worth exploring, the ideal is to know where your fans are and how they'd prefer to access your news and content.
The easiest way to start figuring out which mobile channels your fans prefer is to check out all available analytics tools related to your current web presence from Facebook and YouTube to your official site or blog.
For example, if you have Google analytics installed on your site, you'll be able to not only tell what route your fans took to find your current content but even which devices predominant. It's pretty amazing when you dig in and realize what they give you for free (i.e. in exchange for access to your data).
If you conduct a fan survey, you can ask more specific questions to identify additional or preferred channels using free survey tools such as SurveyMonkey.
Your music fans have their own taste and it's not going to match statistical data that represents broad cross-sections of national or international populations. That's also true for how they like to access your music and related content.
So learn from the aggregate but dig into the realities of your actual or hoped for fanbase and you're much more likely to find the success you've been working so hard to achieve.
- Comscore's 2013 Digital Future in Focus Series
- Facebook Admits They've Been Underreporting Your Page Reach For Months
- 5 Top Channels For Mobile Music Marketing: Journey Beyond The App