At a high level, European app users dont immediately appear different from their American counterparts: both groups are increasingly attached to their devices, with strong growth in the average length of their app sessions across phones and tablets in 2013. The average monthly app user retention also follows a strikingly similar pattern in both regions, with six month app retention at 13 per cent in Europe and 12 per cent in the US.
Despite these similarities at the top level, a deeper dive reveals some surprising differences that could affect how apps should be marketed to European and US user bases.
Europeans users now average longer app sessions than Americans
From January to December, average session length in Europe jumped by over two minutes, which represents a 51 per cent increase. Over the same time frame, the average session length in the US wavered, increasing only 12 per cent from January to December, and ending the year trending downwards.
The upward trend in session length among European users signifies that opportunity is ripe for app publishers and marketers to engage with European users. Longer session length can mean more data on in-app behavior, and more opportunities to interact with users in the app via in-app messages and potentially using push messages to keep users updated on new offers and events, or to remind them to come back into the app.
Europeans unplug for dinner
Logistcs data shows that European users are more active on apps throughout the afternoon, from 11am until about 6pm, when their app use peaks. There is then a sharp decline in use from 6pm-8pm, typical dining hours, before a second peak around 9pm.
The US data tells a different story. App use climbs throughout the day with no breaks, peaking at 8pm, but not dropping below 80 per cent of peak until after 10pm. This suggests that while many Europeans unplug during dinner, Americans remain glued to their mobile devices until bedtime
This usage data is enlightening for app publishers who send push notifications and want to reach users when theyre most engaged with their phones. Rather than sending a message to all users at the same time, marketers are likely to see better results by segmenting users by location and scheduling different delivery times. The best time to reach European users is late afternoon, from 4-7pm, when app use is above 80 per cent of the max. The best time to reach US users is from 6-10pm.
App marketers should consider tailoring their app strategies to the particularities of the European app user; they are on their mobile devices at different times, they launch apps more frequently and spend more time in the apps, and they have strong inclinations towards certain app categories such as sports and gaming relative to their US peers. Understanding these differences and similarities – will help app marketers target their efforts more effectively and create more value for European users.