Yahoo Tweaks Mobile Developer Suite, Adds Tumblr In-App Sharing

Yahoo held a mobile developer conference in New York City today where it shared some eye-popping statistics about how mobile usage is changing, It also revealed some upates to its existing developer tools that are sure to appeal to some app writers out there.

Americans spent 3 hours and 40 minutes glued to their smartphones on any average day during the second quarter of the year. That represents a massive increase of 35%, or 43 minutes, year-over-year. Further, browsers are falling out of favor. Fully 90% of the time people spent on their mobile device was inside a dedicated app rather than the Chrome or Safari browser. Several years ago, browsers were the most-used app on smartphones and tablets. The flipflop highlights the power of mobile applications. Moreover, people are socialing more (51% of usage) and gaming less (14% of usage).

Yahoo, purveyor of various web properties, knows how important these changes are and wants to keep developers abreast of the current trends. That's why it made several changes to the Yahoo Mobile Developer Suite and centered some of the updates on social networking. 

To start, the Yahoo Mobile Developer Suite brings in-app sharing to Tumblr. This change is all about bringing content from third-party apps to Tumblr, according to speaker John Gronberg, Product Manager at Tumblr. "Tumblr is the location for internet content discovery. It is the place for viral sharing," said Gronberg. Tumblr is great for reblogging and sharing content, which often sees a six-fold increase in distribution once it hits Tumblr. In other words, developers should be anxious to see their content reach Tumblr. 

Yahoo says the in-app sharing tool will let developers add easy sharing to their own apps. Users will be able to push content from an app directly to Tumblr with a single click. Tumblr's competitors Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google already offer similar one-click sharing. 

On the flip side, users who see content on Tumblr can be redirected to download the app associated with that content, which can increase app installs. Developers will, of course, be able to see how their content is engaged, including how it is reblogged, clicked, or shared. 

These real-time metrics are powered by Yahoo's Flurry Analytics tool, which has also been updated as part of the new Mobile Developer Suite. Usage data is updated every 15 seconds and app writers will have insight into real-time activity within their apps. 

More than 720,000 apps rely on Flurry, according to Ben Graham, Sr. Product Manager, Flurry Analytics. Flurry has tallied some 1,000 apps for the Apple Watch alone in the four months since the product launched, for example. Flurry analyzes data on 2 billion devices every month. Even at this scale, the real-time metrics are able to parse the details generatd by hundreds, thousands, or millions of users. 

The real-time metrics service is in beta form, says Graham, and will be rolled out to all Yahoo developers in the coming weeks. 

Last on Yahoo's list of news announcements for the day is support for native video ads for publishers. Moving forward, Yahoo will help pair developers with advertisers for mutually beneficial campaigns. 

"I've been talking to a lot of marketers lately," said Lisa Utzschneider, Chief Revenue Officer. "They are all shifting toward mobile. By 2016, 61% of global digital ad spend, or about $41 billion, will be in mobile." But marketers are struggling with mobile, she says.

"You have to pay attention to how teens use mobile devices," for example. "It's like breathing to them," explained Utzschneider.

Ads often interrupt what people are doing, and teens (in particular) are hyper-aware of when interrutions pull them out of their activity of choice. That's why the native video ad service needs to tread carefully and smartly. Yahoo believes its new native video program will offer the right mix of features for developers, advertisers, and consumers. 

More details about the Yahoo Mobile Developer Suite are available here.

Eric Zeman I am a journalist who covers the mobile telecommunications industry. I freelance for ProgrammableWeb and other online properties.

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