Getting to Know the Connected Consumer: From Computers to Tablets to Smartphones

Consumers today have a plethora of choices to consume media both at home and on the go. It wasn’t long ago in digital history that 100 percent of digital traffic came from desktops or laptops. Now smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices account for a growing share of digital traffic.

For today’s publishers and advertisers, understanding how this audience consumes content across various platforms is critical to developing and executing successful digital campaigns. For publishers, the consumption on mobiles and tablets represents additional reach into new audiences, or keeping existing audiences engaged with their brand. For advertisers, understanding where their audiences access across these various platforms will be critical to optimising campaigns for reach and frequency.

Although online content consumption continues to occur primarily on computers at over 90 percent of page view traffic, mobile phones and other connected devices are gaining traction as additional sources of online traffic, particularly in mature technology markets. However this fragmentation of consumption is a global phenomenon. In August 2011, five global markets (Singapore, U.K., U.S., Japan, and Australia) saw more than 5 percent of Internet traffic coming from non-computer devices, with Singapore having the highest share at 7.2 percent. The United Kingdom and United States followed closely, each with 6.8 percent of total Internet traffic coming from mobile and connected devices.

Mobile Phones Drive Non-Computer Digital Traffic
Across these selected markets, mobile phones drove the majority of non-computer digital traffic, in part due to the growth of certain mobile market enablers – including smartphone ownership, 3G/4G network use, and unlimited data plan subscriptions – in many markets. In Singapore, nearly two-thirds of non-computer traffic (4.4 percent of total traffic) in August 2011 came from mobile devices, driven in large part by the use of smartphones. Mobile accounts for an even higher share of non-computer device traffic in Japan at more than 80 percent.

Feature phones (cheaper phones that is more than just a “dumb” phone but the OS not quite as robust as a “smartphone”) only contribute a small percentage of mobile traffic in more digitally mature markets, but in other developing markets, they have higher share of traffic. India stands out as a unique example of a country where the highest share of non-computer traffic comes from mobile devices rather than tablets. India’s feature phones drove most of this traffic, at 73.1 percent of all non-computer traffic.

Tablets Deliver One-Third of Non-Computer Page Views in Singapore

On the other hand in developed markets like Australia, Canada, Singapore, U.K., and U.S., mobile and connected devices account for a fairly significant share of traffic. Among the five markets, Canada showed the highest percentage of non-computer traffic coming from tablets at nearly 40 percent. Singapore followed, with tablets contributing 34.4 percent of non-computer traffic. In Australia, the U.S., and U.K., tablets accounted for at least 24 percent of non-computer traffic. Across these markets, nearly 1 in 4 page views made on mobile and connected devices came from a tablet. Other web-enabled devices (which include e-readers, gaming consoles, and other handheld devices) accounted for the smallest share of digital traffic in most markets.

In this multi-device environment, audience measurement can no longer be confined to the desktop or laptop environment to understand the full profile of today’s digital consumer. Holistic audience measurement – understanding consumer behaviours across computer, mobile, tablet, and other connected devices – will be increasingly important as brands and their advertising agencies seek to optimise strategies and allocate dollars appropriately across platforms.

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