comScore: Google Sites Top Facebook On Mobile; 4 Out Of 5 Mobile Media Minutes Spent In Apps

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Online and mobile research company comScore just released its newly rebooted and retooled Mobile Metrix report this morning, which examines mobile media usage across both apps and mobile web browsing. According to the new data, Google sites led as the top property on iOS, Android and RIM devices, reaching 96.9% of the U.S. mobile audience, followed by Facebook, Yahoo sites and Amazon sites. But apps dominated in terms of usage, says comScore, with 4 out of every 5 mobile media minutes spent in apps.

As far as which apps led the way, not surprisingly, built-in system apps came out on top, as did Facebook. But Facebook isn’t #1 – depending on the platform, the App Store or the Android Market holds the top spot, followed by either Google Search or Maps.

On the iPhone, iTunes was the top app, with 99.9% reach (what, did someone figure out how to delete iTunes off of their iPhone?), and was followed by Google Maps, at 91.2% reach. Facebook, meanwhile, was in the #3 spot, with an 80% reach. On Android, the rankings were a bit different – the Android Market…excuse me, Google Play store…was #1 (93.2% reach), followed by the Google Search app (84.1%), Maps (74.5%), Gmail (71.4%), and then Facebook (68.9%). Clearly, the numbers show that Android users gravitate towards Google’s own branded apps.

ComScore also looked at social networking properties by audience size, a measurement determined by both app usage and mobile site visitors. In this case, Facebook was an easy winner,¬†with the average Facebook mobile user engaging for over 7 hours via browser or app in March. Twitter saw 25.6 million mobile users, engaging for nearly 2 hours during the month, but this statistic didn’t include usage by third-party apps (of which there are many), so may not be as accurate. People visiting Twitter on their computers spent only 20.4 minutes on Twitter.com, which comScore says highlights the importance of mobile engagement for brands. However, again, Twitter.com metrics are not the only way to account for Twitter users who engage on a Mac or PC – there are dozens of client applications, available both as desktop applications and those which run in the browser, neither of which were counted here.

The newly hot image pinboarding site Pinterest reached 7.5 million smartphone visitors who engaged with the brand for nearly an hour. (And this despite a number of anecdotal and app store review complaints of app bugginess, some of which were only recently addressed by the company through a mobile app update – Imagine what Pinterest could do with a killer app!).

Foursquare trailed Pinterest, with 5.5 million mobile visitors engaging at an average of nearly 2.5 hours. And Tumblr reached an audience of nearly 4.5 million who engaged for 68 minutes during the same time.

As with anything, methodology is an important consideration here. With the new comScore Mobile Metrix 2.0 reports, the company is bringing its Unified Digital Measurement to smartphone devices, which combines both sever-side and panel data to provide a snapshot of mobile web and app usage on smartphone devices. This is combined with census data to determine that the above metrics apply only to U.S. adults, age 18 and up.