Mobile Works Nights and Weekends

People spend an increasing portion of their time online, so it’s not surprising that their daily rhythms (i.e. work schedule, commute, etc) are reflected in their online activity.

Our presence on 14 million websites worldwide gives us a unique perspective on this behavior, and the opportunity to use data science to help our publishers understand their users. Here’s an example comparing mobile vs. desktop users by hour over a typical week.

These are users in the eastern U.S. seen on AddThis sites during the week May 6 to May 12. Users are categorized as desktop/laptop or mobile (which includes phones and tablets).

How (And When) People Use Desktops

As you can see, there are wide swings in desktop/laptop user numbers from working to evening hours. On the weekends (the right end of the chart above), you’ll see a pronounced decrease which is what we’d expect when people aren’t at work. And looking more closely at the blue desktop curve, we notice a dip on weekdays around 5pm, commute time.

How People Use Mobile

The red mobile curve is more surprising. There’s no weekend dip as there is in desktop, and the high point of weekday use is relatively late, around 7-9pm, coinciding with the second evening peak of desktop/laptop use. Also note how steady mobile use is throughout the day Saturday.

So what’s going on? Is the evening mobile peak “second screen viewing” in action? Is mobile enabling web surfing on weekends, traditionally a slow period for online activity?

In future posts, we’ll dig into this data to uncover some possible explanations, and brainstorm how you can use this knowledge to optimize your visitors’ experience.