The Verto Glossary: Multitasking

As part of our monthly Verto Glossary series, we define an industry- or Verto-specific term, in an effort to make our content and the consumer-centric measurement more useful and easier to understand. In our last post, we discussed reach and mobile reach. This month, we turn our attention to multitasking, a concept we first introduced in last year’s report on consumer multitasking and mobile apps.

What is Multitasking?

Verto Analytics defines a multitasking session as one session during which at least four different apps are used during that same session—and at least seven different “shifts” (from app to app) occur among these apps. For example, if you unlock your smartphone, launch Facebook, check your email, and then lock the device again, that would not constitute a multitasking session. However, if you:

  • Use Facebook and then
  • Check your email
  • Use WhatsApp
  • Use Pinterest
  • Use Facebook again
  • Check WhatsApp again
  • Compose an email message

Those actions, combined, would constitute true multitasking based on Verto’s definition. Verto Analytics data shows that multitasking, and multitasking across multiple devices is becoming the new usage standard. Consumers are spending more time online engaged with apps overall and also using multiple apps during a single session. We define this activity as a “multitasking session” to quantify how consumers behave during the time period they’re actively engaged on their devices.

While multitasking occurs on all digital devices, Verto Analytics data shows that multitasking is far more prevalent on smartphones: 3.5-4% of all smartphone device sessions are multitasking sessions, which is about two times higher than multitasking on tablets or computers. Consumers are most likely to multitask on smartphones in the evenings and late into the night, while multitasking on PCs is highest during the daytime— typically aligned to standard working hours.

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