Let’s consider for a moment, four seemingly unrelated data points from the mobile ecosystem:

· A recent study by Nielsen mobile shows that we spend 26 percent of our time on mobile devices interacting with its home screen

· Research done by Flurry shows that, unlike TV or Tablets, use of mobile is more constant throughout the day

· Findings from Arbitron showed that Mobile Posse’s home screen application inspired more sessions per month (88.1) than even Facebook’s app (73.8) and Gmail’s (44.3)

· The chief research officer of Time Inc., who labels use of mobile phones as “found time” recently was quoted as saying, “Smartphones, no matter how app-filled and multimedia they are, are still generally used outside the home and for very specific, pragmatic functions, usually in short bursts of time”

Are these really all that unrelated? I’d suggest that they aren’t. It’s likely that they’re all very closely linked.

Obviously, they’re all related to mobile handset usage, but beyond that, they’re related to how consumers use their mobile handsets. Per the Flurry stat, they are used throughout the day: unlike TV, there’s no specific “prime time” for mobile handsets. Even tablets are still relegated to leisure time for most consumers, but the mobile phone is all-purpose. It’s used heavily both throughout the workday and during the off-hours, even if the majority of that usage is away from home.

Much of that time on mobile handsets is spent on the home screen. That screen, which we all customize to feature our most-used apps and widgets, has essentially become mission control. If you’re anything like me, you use it to check the time, check the weather, look for critical news alerts or just to see if any messages have come in over the last five minutes. It’s no wonder we spend more time there than on any other app or screen on our handsets – 26 percent of all time on mobile, per the Nielsen stat above.

With all that time spent on the home screen, you’d think that marketers from all sides would recognize that this is a far better opportunity than the crowded app space. The average retention rate for a mobile app is 35 percent after 90 days – or, to look at that another way, app usage drops off by 65 percent after three months. And that is just measure as one user per month. So while companies are clamoring to build and market apps, it’s clear that building an app is no guarantee that consumers will download it much less use it habitually. Instinct tells me that with the amount invested in building and marketing apps, most marketers are banking on more than three months of usage.

The mobile home screen is the prime real estate. It’s the beachfront – desired, beloved and uncrowded. This is where publishers need to be. It’s where consumers will want to see the latest sports scores, political news and royal births. It’s also a place where consumers might appreciate highly relevant special offers and invitations – but only if they’re done respectfully. Consumers want to be empowered and delighted, but they never want to be annoyed. So if you’re ESPN, consumers will welcome reminders to stream tonight’s game, and be delighted by presale events to see their local teams; but they will be annoyed by reminders to watch teams they don’t follow. They may even be delighted by occasional offers from your advertisers, if they’re highly relevant and valuable.

The home screen can be your gateway to better consumer engagement. We cited that Arbitron stat at the beginning of this article that showed that the Mobile Posse home screen application inspired more sessions per month (88.1) than even Facebook’s app (73.8) and Gmail’s (44.3). We’re not trying to blow our own horn here of course, although we’re admittedly pretty stoked by these numbers. What we want to draw attention to is the fact that the home screen deserves your consideration. When the conversation around “app versus mobile site” begins for the millionth time, start considering the home screen as a better option.

As Founder and CEO, Jon Jackson provides the vision and leadership behind Mobile Posse's mission to create a revolutionary and trusted mobile channel through the active idle screen. Jon envisioned a proactive mobile delivery channel equally well-suited to the needs of carriers, contentJon Jackson providers, and brands. In response, Mobile Posse developed a turnkey mobile delivery platform which activates the phone's idle screen to seamlessly deliver advertising and CRM messages-- while ensuring a superior experience for end users. Advertisers use the platform to deliver full-color, interactive and timely mobile advertising messages to consumers. Carriers rely on the platform to keep their customers informed about wireless products and services, and to enhance the overall customer experience. Through industry-leading consumer engagement rates and proven technological leadership, Mobile Posse is defining the next generation of mobile marketing and mCRM. Jon brings more than 17 years of strategic, operational, and technical leadership experience to Mobile Posse from recognized companies ranging from a major Internet powerhouse to a television cartoon studio. Prior to forming Mobile Posse, Jon spent over 8 years in a variety of management and technical roles at AOL, as the company brought interactive advertising into existence. Jon was a key member of AOL Mobile, where he was charged with creating the mobile expression for leading AOL products. Jon was also a member of the management team of the AOL Greenhouse, the first Internet incubator. The AOL Greenhouse was instrumental in the launch of top Internet properties like; The Motley Fool, CBS SportsLine, Travelocity, and iVillage. Previously, Jon was the CTO of Frederator, producers of the Emmy-nominated "The Fairly OddParents" and "Chalkzone." A recognized expert in interactive advertising and new product development, Jon has also provided management and technology consulting services to companies like HBO, Viacom, and PRIMEDIA. Jon holds a BA in English Composition from George Mason University.

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