In Depth

When's Prime Time in Mobile? Same as TV--Mobile Web and App Usage Starts to Peak at 7 p.m., Keeps Up Through the Night

By Kunur Patel
Advertising Age

Prime time in mobile is shaping up to look a lot like TV: Working stiffs turn to their phones after they've logged off their computers for the day and plopped down on the couch at home.

Users surf the mobile web and apps on phones most during the early evening, between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., and keep usage up through the night, according to a recent study from third-party ad server MediaMind. Looking at billions of mobile ad impressions across devices, carriers and operating systems, mobile ad click-through rates are also highest between 7 p.m. and midnight, with clicks reaching a peak at 8 p.m. MediaMind serves global campaigns for advertisers and agencies in all digital media, including mobile.

Mobile ad network Jumptap concurs with the findings and so does Google. The highest click-through rates -- 0.63% -- happen between 5 and 6 p.m. on Jumptap's U.S. mobile ad network, said Chief Marketing Officer Paran Johar. Findings are based on the network's 83 million unique users' 11 billion ad requests both on the mobile web and in apps. Google, too, sees the highest volume of mobile search in the evening.

Mobile's overlap with TV prime time especially makes sense considering so many consumers are parked in front of the tube with phone in hand. A whopping 86% of U.S. mobile internet users watch TV with their mobile devices, according to a Nielsen and Yahoo study published in January.

Both MediaMind and Jumptap also find that mobile users are more likely to click ads served on iPhones than any other smartphone platform. Research in Motion's BlackBerry devices brings in the lowest click-through rates.