WHITING: Over half of US tablet and smartphone owners play games on their devices and one in ten does so more than once a day, new research has revealed.

The online survey, by Harris Interactive for CouponCabin.com, polled 2,058 adults and found that 51% of mobile owners play games on occasion, with 11% playing more than once a day, 21% at least once a day, 41% at least once a week and 10% once a month or less.

Separately, the Wall Street Journal has reported that users spend on average two hours a day on apps, including games, and this is set to grow.

This is a trend that mobile marketers can exploit, according to Brendan O'Kane, chief executive of mobile analytics group OtherLevels.

In an article for The Fast Company, he suggested that they could utilise the "gamification" employed by the wider gaming industry to good effect.

This could include introducing points scoring into non-games areas of marketing, such as book sales, which he said could drive brand awareness and sales, as well as encouraging users to spend longer on site.

"Fun can blur the line between marketing and entertainment, creating a more compelling experience," he declared.

But spending a good deal of time on gaming can be expensive. Jackie Warrick, senior savings adviser at CouponCabin.com said: "App purchases, even though they're often low priced, should be factored into an overall entertainment budget."

And the survey showed that while 61% of American adults who have paid to download a game over the last year spent no more than $10, 11% had spent over $50.

There is the additional problem of children purchasing apps without permission or by mistake, with 12% of adults surveyed saying their children have bought a game app by mistake, and 10% intentionally without their permission.

Data sourced from CouponCabin, The Fast Company; additional content by Warc staff