Find #3: App Usage is Most Popular at Night


App Usage Peaks at 8pm,
Except for News, Travel & Weather Apps

 
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Most apps follow a similar usage pattern – rising in the early morning hours as people start their commute, then leveling off throughout the day. After work, app usage picks up again until it reaches its daily peak at 8pm, at which point it starts to decline as people head to bed, dropping off significantly after 10pm. Primetime remains the best time to engage with your users. But not all apps follow this pattern.

 
 

Three categories that experience peak usage in the morning are News, Travel, and Weather apps. Most people check the weather right when they first wake up, followed by the day’s headlines and traffic information. To no one’s surprise, Travel apps experience peak usage in the morning and evening commutes, as people are trying to find efficient ways to get to and from work or school. For apps that experience heavy early morning usage, a well-timed in-app message in the morning could result in significant engagement with the user.
 

Business, Finance and Music Apps Show Heavy Usage Throughout the Day

 
 

Other apps show constant usage through the day. Business apps (such as Salesforce) and Finance apps show heavy usage throughout the day. Music apps are also used constantly, as people typically listen to music throughout their workday. These apps are less dependent on commuter patterns and so are more typically used during work hours either as tools or for background listening. Of note, Business and Finance apps also experience heavy usage throughout the evening, indicating that people are engaging with these apps to stay connected to their work life outside the typical 9-5 hour workday.

 

Users Stay Up Late with Entertainment Apps 

Of all the categories examined, entertainment and social networking had above average usage in the late night hours. Entertainment apps in particular show strong usage throughout the night into the early morning hours. Rather than dipping to around 20 percent between 2am-5am, entertainment apps kept strong around 50 percent usage during these hours. 

 
 

While this information may seem to be common sense, there are practical applications for product managers and marketers. Most people fall into a similar routine during the day, which means you can predict when they will be engaging with their apps. Knowing what the typical peak time of day is for your industry means you can optimize your ad campaigns for times of peak usage or provide timely content updates.

Along with session length and app launches, time of day is another great insight towards how users are engaging with your app. Understanding typical usage patterns will help drive efficient marketing campaigns, and ultimately create a more pleasant experience for your user.