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Study Reveals Most Popular iPhone Apps

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iPhone App Store

Web research firm comScore has released its first in-depth look at the most-installed iPhone applications — providing some surprises and some guidance for application developers seeking direction and marketers seeking ways to better reach iPhone users.

While Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) regularly updates its lists of the most popular applications on the iPhone by category, over a million people in the U.S. provide comScore with aggregate data anonymously.

“We’re able to see, with privacy in place, what applications are hanging around to get a truer picture of what’s being used,” Mark Donovan, senior vice president of mobile at comScore (NASDAQ: SCOR), told comScore also collects demographic information on those it surveys.

The results were a big win for Tapulous. The company’s popular Tap, Tap Revenge game was installed by 32 percent of Apple App store users as of February, giving it the largest installed base on comScore’s list.

“What you’re seeing is that Apple has taken an enormous amount of friction out of getting a mobile application on the global market,” Donovan said. “This allows companies like Tapulous, that had no connection to the carriers, to be successful in a short period of time.”

Twelve of the top 25 most popular apps on comScore’s list are games, but social networking and other familiar non-gaming apps cracked the list as well including Facebook (used by 26 percent of iPhone users), Google Earth (22 percent) and the AIM instant messenger (19 percent).

comScore measures “engagement” or the time users spend on different applications. Compared to Internet users as a whole, the report says iPhone users are above average in time spent with retail, social networking and blogs, entertainment, sports and search sites.

A pretty attractive demographic

More than half of all App Store users are in households making at least $75,000 a year. comScore also said App Store users are 32 percent more likely than average to belong to households earning at least $100,000 per year.

“This is a pretty attractive group of people to reach from a marketer’s perspective,” Donovan said. “We hear from our clients that they are going after iPhone and BlackBerry users with specific ad units.”

RIM launched its BlackBerry App World store last week.

“As iPhone becomes more ubiquitous, those demographics are going to normalize,” iPhone consultant Raven Zachary told in an instant message exchange. “I’m sitting on a train right now where half of the passengers in my coach car are iPhone owners and they are a diverse bunch.”

This article was first published on

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