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Each Second Spent By A User On A Digital Product Is Their Investment



by Ashwin Rajan

How many digital products and services does an average European, or American, consumer cycle through each year? We've been looking for research that answers this question. Nobody knows for sure. Well, we all seem to agree at this point that it's a lot. And more importantly, that the number seems to be increasing all the time.

I caught this on my Facebook feed.

We may be buying more information products but our capacity for consuming and sharing information isn't going up. Not yet, at least. So with our total available attention already filled, there really isn't much space for new stuff. In fact, in the user's cognitive space, every product now holds value if it potentially replaces at least another, and in some cases several other products. We want new digital products to take away the pains and inconveniences caused by the ones we already use.

Churn from lack of loyalty or relevance is one of the main barriers to delivering scalable technology offerings today. Consequently, to get retrenched every day into a user's life is the key challenge. Startling findings recently showed that apps:

  • Now represent a staggering 52% of time spent with digital media in the U.S., 
  • Most US smartphone owners download zero apps in a typical month.
  • Only about one-third of smartphone owners download any apps in an average month, with the bulk of those downloading one to three apps.
  • The top 7% of smartphone owners account for “nearly half of all download activity in a given month". 

This means that there are new apps coming onboard every single day battling for a limited resource - user time and attention.

Demographic and life changes drive a lot of the shifts in the digital products that people use.

People that didn't play games much tend to play more of them once they become parents. As people move past the age of 35, they start to spend more time and money on products around improving health. Youngsters have more time than money on their hands, and are drawn early to specific cultural influences that determine the kind and amount of products they might spend time on in their 2o's.

Living at the intersection of changing preferences and a constant stream of new offerings, a user is always contemplating leaving your service for a better, or different, one.

Business leaders therefore need to understand that the very act of contemplation, the very first second a potential user gives your product some attention, should be seen as an investment. You need to factor in that investment of the user and repay it back with interest, or else its bye bye.

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