As a network focused on the independent web we get to talk with lots of publishers and see lots of traffic across those publishers' websites. By comScore reports we currently have in our platform roughly 160,000 individual websites attracting nearly 200 million monthly uniques in the U.S. Across this network we've been doing research into the amount and trends of mobile traffic. What we're finding is a cocktail of near-term systemic challenges and (we hope) major corresponding opportunities.
Across the network we see a range of between 10 percent and 30 percent of traffic coming from mobile devices, depending on the site category. Of that, roughly two-thirds is from smartphones. The smartphone traffic is split roughly 50/50 between iOS and Android, with the latter growing faster. On the tablet traffic we see 90+ percent from iOS.
It's difficult to gauge how much of this traffic is coming from mobile-optimized layouts and how much is just a normal full page, shrunk down to fit. Our more qualitative research suggests that traffic is coming from sites that are not optimized for mobile. For publishers who have optimized for mobile our research shows that they are making roughly a fifth (or less) the rate of their normal web traffic.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the already compressed economics of web publishing can't endure this growth of mobile as the revenue solutions sit today. Publishers need to first accept this new mobile reality and then put in place revenue and reader engagement solutions that bring things back to, or make them better than, run-of-the-mill web traffic. Mobile optimization is a must-do for publishers. Here are four considerations publishers need to take into account to determine how and when to optimize their sites for mobile consumption:
Recent analyst predictions suggest that upwards of 50 percent of reader traffic will come from mobile devices of one shape or another - and soon. The wealth of information we have about these readers is even further refined by the situational signals of location and movement from mobile. The short-term challenge is how we think about a compressed screen size. The long-term opportunity is how publishers capture the increased engagement and convert it to economics that work.
Mobile Publishing image on home page via Shutterstock.
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Walter is the Chief Operating Officer at Federated Media Publishing. In this position, Walter is responsible for publisher recruitment, advertising yield management, and exchange/RTB (real-time bidding) media across Federated Media.
With more than 20 years of business and operations management, Walter has been an investor as a Partner and Principal for two very successful venture capital funds. He has also built and led large field organizations for two public companies, Novell and Cambridge Technology partners. Walter regularly speaks about monetization and data strategies at industry events covering both online publishing and advertising.
March 19, 2014