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Flurry Report Suggests Major App Usage During Super Bowl

Sunday night’s Super Bowl matchup between the New England Patriots and New York Giants was a classic, but according to a new report from Flurry most viewers were just as likely to be staring at their smartphone screen as they were the game. The company used analytics software built into many popular apps to surmise that of the 111 million people watching the Super Bowl, an estimated 98 million spent at least some time futzing with an app.

Flurry’s charts show a sustained increase in app usage over the course of the game, demonstrating that when it comes to paying attention long-term the human race has a serious case of ADD. The biggest drops in app usage occurred near the end of the 4th quarter as both teams battled in a close contest, and during Madonna’s halftime show. It seems we can’t be bothered to focus on a football game for four hours, but we’re more than happy to drop what we’re doing to watch a fiftysomething singer lip-sync her way through her greatest hits. And why not? The halftime show had lots of flashing lights and pretty lasers.

Cultural information aside, the Flurry report is a goldmine for advertisers as it also breaks down which commercials drove the most users to waste time on their phones and which managed to hold viewer attention (a Cadillac commercial vs. Elton John shilling for Pepsi, for instance), as well as proving that if you want the most attention possible you should buy your ad time in the first or second quarter, before fatigue starts to set in. Furthermore, the report suggests that women are the best audience to target as they tended to stop everything and pay attention to the commercials, then turn away in greater numbers once the game resumed.

All in all this is a fascinating report which will serve as a nice arrow in the marketing quiver for any companies already planning next year’s Super Bowl ads. Just don’t bother building commercials and apps which are designed to complement each other, according to the data that just won’t work.

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Brad Hilderbrand
Brad is a freelance writer specializing in the gaming, mobile and tablet industries. He is the founder of, and would greatly appreciate it if you'd poke your head in and say hi.
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