Morgan Stanley: No, Apps Aren’t winning The cell Browser Is

cell browser audiences are 2X greater than app audiences and growing quicker.


ultimate week, comScore launched its mobile App record, which we coated. The report contained many interesting findings, but its large takeaway was once this: customers spend nearly all of their cellular time with a very few closely used apps.

There was once also a fascinating and vital mobile-browser story in the record I not noted to inform. Morgan Stanley subsequently introduced it in a analysis observe that performs up mobile browser usage — and Google, by way of extension.

Characterizing the browser as the ultimate cellular app, the firm cites its own analysis and comScore knowledge for the proposition that “US cell browser audiences are 2X better than app audiences throughout the top 50 cellular web houses and have grown 1.2X faster during the last three years.”

mobile internet vs. app site visitors for top 50 mobile residences

mobile web vs. app traffic

source: Morgan Stanley rendering of comScore knowledge

The research note is designed to fight the perception that the mobile web is anemic or in decline (and by means of extension, Google). It’s now not. As the data convey, cell browser usage is rising quicker than apps and turning in greater audiences for many publishers. For a while, we’ve been talking concerning the significance of the cellular web and the interesting reach (browser) vs. engagement (apps) dichotomy.

Morgan Stanley points out that only 12 of the top 50 cell homes have extra visitors coming from apps than the browser. The discussion argues for the primacy of the cellular browser for many publishers, brands and entrepreneurs.

As a pragmatic matter, Morgan Stanley is basically right. Most publishers will see the bulk of their site visitors from cell browser utilization and now not apps. the explanation isn’t for the reason that browser is in some way advanced or that the “open internet should win.” The browser drives extra visitors as a result of consumers are extremely selective about apps.

cellular app site visitors exceeds the browser in just a few instances

Mobile traffic apps vs. mobile web

supply: Morgan Stanley, comScore

as a result of smartphone reminiscence constraints and the mediocre quality of most apps, customers are most effective going to obtain and interact with a small fraction of the apps available on the market. for instance, I will have one or two retailer apps on my phone (e.g., Amazon), though I retailer at many extra shops. My alternatives are tied to frequency and loyalty; I’m no longer going to obtain 10 completely different retail apps. instead, I’ll use search and the browser to seek out information from retailers I’m more casually invested in.

Unable to ship compelling experiences and disappointed with the aid of a scarcity of traction, many shops have turned faraway from apps and towards the mobile web. It’s also changing into more pricey to obtain app users who may quickly churn anyway. (right here the positions of Google and facebook are reversed, with Google positioning itself because the decrease-cost various for app-set up commercials.)

It’s necessary to be clear that mobile apps aren’t applicable for every merchant or marketer. The apps vs. cellular browser discussion is in point of fact about target market segmentation and user conduct patterns. As a crude generalization, the browser is for more informal audiences and apps are for extra prevalent and constant shoppers.

i feel this apps vs. browser argument is so charged partly as a result of it’s a surrogate for Apple’s and Google’s competing visions for the mobile web. These dueling positions have zealous detractors and partisans.

putting aside “ideology,” marketers need to have a transparent view of what way makes essentially the most feel for them in line with a practical figuring out of the customer and her conduct and usage patterns. It’s time to finish the browser vs. apps “or” debate; it’s truly about “and.”

(Some photography used under license from


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