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Summary:

When you pick up your iPad, where do you poke first? I tend to hit Reeder first, and read quite a few articles before moving on to my local newspaper app. It looks like I’m not alone, according to new engagement statistics released Tuesday.

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When you pick up your iPad, where do you poke around first? I tend to hit Reeder initially, and often spend at least five minutes with the app before moving on to my local newspaper app. It looks like I’m not alone, according to new engagement statistics from mobile app analytics firm, Localytics, released Tuesday about how people use iPad apps.

News apps racked up the longest average session length (how long a user spends in an app once its open) according to data taken from Localytics’ mobile app analytics platform, with users spending over 250 percent more time engaged with news apps when compared to the average time spent in any app. Close behind the news category in average time spent with an app per session were music (228 percent of average), health and fitness apps (210 percent) and reference apps (162 percent). Music apps tend to be turned on and then run in the background, which might account for their lengthy session times.

Games ranked much farther down the list, with users spending only around 75 percent of the average session length playing, and entertainment apps were last of all categories measured, with around 20 percent.

When measured another way, however, games rank very highly in terms of user engagement. Localytics also checked in to how many sessions per month users had with each type of app. Games accounted for the highest number of sessions per month, with an average of 13 per user. The next closest categories were news and music apps, which were both used an average of five times per month. Apps in the reference category, which showed a high per-session length, appear not to actually be opened all that often. According to both scores, entertainment and sports apps showed very limited engagement.

The results are good news for news app developers and publishers hoping to convert app downloads into lucrative contracts with advertisers and marketers, but I’m thinking it also might indicate areas where consumers have yet to be impressed with any currently available app offerings. I think many entertainment apps are too narrowly focused, and only fit the description in the loosest sense of the word, which is probably bringing down the average when compared to oft-used software like the iPad Netflix app. And many sports apps tend to offer little of value beyond the ability to check scores when your favorite team is playing, which isn’t likely to encourage much engagement.

My iPad usage echoes the Localytics findings: I use my iPad mainly for consuming news (from a variety of sources), and I occasionally open a game to kill a few minutes before dinner or while on hold, but I don’t spend as much time with these as I do with my news reader and periodical apps. Does the study ring true with your experience?

  1. The added benefit of using an iPad for news and games instead of just using my laptop do not justify the price. It’s a waste of money.

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    1. Just as Pete said the value proposition to cost ratio is not going to work outside the ‘Apple Rabid!’ I would only look at it as a potential novelty when its in the $99.00 range. Any more than that and I got a notebook that does what I need done

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  2. it would be interesting to see the stats split by user demographic..wouldnt be a surprise if the average age turns out to be high 30′s

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