The Verto Glossary: Focus-outs

Verto Glossary series, we define a Verto or Industry specific term in an effort to make our content more useful and easier to understand. In our last post, we discussed Parent Companies. This month, we take a look at focus-outs.

App usage continues to dominate our cell phone activity, with consumers spending 85% of their time on smartphones in apps. It has become increasingly important to understand how users engage with various apps as their popularity continues to grow. Multitasking between different apps, websites and devices has risen, highlighting the necessity of being able to track app usage across all platforms. The amount of time that consumers spend on apps has increased so much that Apple recently introduced App Limits and Downtime in iOS 12, which sets specific time limits on a particular app category and restricts device usage to phone calls and a specific set of apps, in order to provide an antidote to so-called “app addiction.” Focus-outs are a key metric to analyze in order to get a better understanding of how users are engaging with various apps.

What Are Focus-outs?
Consumer behavioral data, tracking users activity throughout the day across the various platforms and devices they engage with, has become central to audience measurement. Focus-outs are a single event, capturing when a mobile app moves out of the foreground (i.e. is no longer actively displayed to the user) on a given smartphone or tablet. Specifically, focus-outs happens under following conditions: the user switches to another application (moving the current application out of the foreground), the user powers off the display or the display times out and goes to sleep, or the user powers off the digital device. For example, the transition that occurs when you open Instagram on your mobile device, browse the explore page for five minutes and then close the app while it continues to run in the background. Due to the rise of multitasking, it is just as important to know when an app is in use as when it is exited. Contextually, focus-outs can be used to measure device sessions, a series of app sessions carried out on a single device with a specified time threshold between the end of one app session (focus-out) and the start of the next. Focus-outs are key in identifying the sequence of user activity and more broadly in tracking consumers behavior across platforms.  

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