Prime Time Is Peak Time for Mobile Gaming and Social Media

Mar 20, 2013, 11:00 ET from Arbitron Inc.

COLUMBIA, Md., March 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Mobile gamers and social networkers spend the most time playing games or posting updates during TV prime time—weekdays from 8PM to 10PM—according to an hour-by-hour analysis of Arbitron Mobile smartphone panelists in the United States during the fourth quarter 2012.

Five functions––voice calls, messaging, browsing, social networking, and gaming—dominate weekday smartphone use by Arbitron Mobile panelists in the United States.

Smartphone Function

Percent of

per Month

Peak Usage
Time Period

Average Use
in Peak Hour

Gaming (App & Web)





Social Networking (App & Web)





Messaging General (Apps)





Voice Calls





Browsing (Apps)





Any Phone Functions





Source: Arbitron Mobile U.S. Mobile Trends Panels™ Service; Fourth Quarter 2012
             Opt-In sample of mobile consumers; Persons 18+

A weekday hour-by-hour analysis for the top five functions reveals that shifts in usage tend to be linked to the traditional 9AM to 5PM workday schedule and to TV prime time.


The 9 to 5 workday schedule drives most smartphone usage patterns

Average time per hour for each of the five top smartphone functions rises sharply until the 9AM to 10AM hour when messaging, browsing, social networking, and gaming enter a late morning plateau.

The plateau exception: mobile voice calls. Average time per hour continues to increase until noon, when it sags slightly over the lunch break, and then accelerates again to a 5PM peak.

Both mobile social media and mobile gaming see a slow increase in their average time per hour for Arbitron Mobile smartphone panelists starting with the 1PM and 2PM hours, respectively.

The late afternoon hours of 4PM and 5PM mark a significant inflection point for smartphone usage patterns among Arbitron Mobile panelists in the United States.

  • Starting at 5PM, the average time per hour for voice calling falls off sharply. At the same time, average time per hour for mobile gaming and social networking begins a sharp acceleration toward their respective peak hours of 9PM.
  • Messaging begins a slow decline at 4PM that continues until 9PM. It then begins a sharper decline in average time per hour that goes on into the after midnight hours.
  • The end of the workday exception: mobile browsing, which maintains a consistent average time per hour from 10AM through 10PM. As prime time wanes, browsing then declines at a slightly lower rate than other top smartphone activities.
  • Mobile gaming and social media activities accelerate between 5PM and 6PM to their hourly peaks in TV prime time. Around 10PM, the average time per hour for gaming and social networking begins a steep decline that continues into the early morning, when the workday-based cycle begins again.

About Arbitron Mobile
Arbitron Mobile Oy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Arbitron Inc., uses a proprietary, on-device software meter to provide marketers, the media, content providers, app developers, and wireless access suppliers with information on how mobile consumers use apps, surf the web, engage in social media, participate in e-commerce, and employ their devices to communicate. The Arbitron Mobile technology supports all major smartphone platforms including tablets.

The service is designed to report reach, frequency, usage and consumer engagement with all key functions and activities of their mobile devices, whether the device is online, connected to a cellular or Wi-Fi network, or used offline.

For more information, contact:

The Arbitron Mobile panel in the United States consists of approximately 12,000 persons, age 18 and older, who voluntarily install the proprietary software meter onto their iOS, Android, or Blackberry mobile devices.

Arbitron Mobile-based services are available in the following countries: the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, Indonesia, and Japan.

About Arbitron
Arbitron Inc. (NYSE: ARB) is an international media and marketing research firm serving the media–radio, television, cable and out-of-home; the mobile industry as well as advertising agencies and advertisers around the world. Arbitron's businesses include: measuring network and local market radio audiences across the United States; surveying the retail, media and product patterns of U.S. consumers; providing mobile audience measurement and analytics in the United States, Europe, and Asia; and developing application software used for analyzing media audience and marketing information data. The Company has developed the Portable People Meter ™ (PPM®) and the PPM 360™, new technologies for media and marketing research.

Portable People Meter™, PPM® and PPM 360™ are marks of Arbitron Inc.


SOURCE Arbitron Inc.