One third of digital consumption in the US is mobile – who is profiting?

In the US one third of digital consumption is via a mobile. According to comScore’s Mobile future in focus report on the US market, 37 percent of digital media minutes is via a mobile device, 63 percent is desktop.

The most interesting part of this report is the details of the number of mobile visitors to the top 25 digital publishers. These are published below, including the proportion of total digital visitors using a mobile device (which was calculated by mobiThinking). N.B. While mobiThinking considers comScore’s reports to be must-read, it should always be noted that these stats are based on surveys and, while they give a useful indication of the mobile market, all survey data should always be read with some caution.

One third of visitors to top 25 digital publishers are mobile

When you study the PC and mobile visitors to the top 25 digital properties in the US it is remarkable to see that all but three – Microsoft, Viacom Digital and VEVO – are seeing more than one-third of visitors using mobile devices. Seven of the top 25 are seeing over 50 percent of visitors using mobile devices: Google, Facebook, Amazon, The Weather Channel, Pandora (with a whopping 79.9 percent of visitors using mobile devices), ESPN and Twitter.

Of course, many of these mobile visitors will also access these sites via PCs – especially in a country like the US were PCs are abundant. But a significant number are only accessing these publishers via mobile. The most important stat here is what comScore calls the incremental audience via mobile. This is the percentage of visitors that these publishers would never have reached except via mobile. On average the top 25 publishers extended their reach by 29 percent via the mobile channel.

Are one third of your visitors mobile? If not, why not?

This drums home the critical importance of mobile. The experience of the top 25 shows that companies can extend their reach, even in the US where PC penetration is substantial, by embracing mobile. Mobile is key for companies that are looking to expand their market or prevent competitors expanding theirs. Four questions all CEOs should ask their marketing team:

  1. What proportion of company Web traffic is via mobile?
    (Hint: a free analytics package might not tell the whole story).
  2. Are mobile visitors more than one third of total digital visitors?
  3. If not, then what is wrong with the company’s mobile strategy?
    (Hint: visit the company Website using a variety of mobile devices, including feature phones, via a mobile network. Compare the experience to visiting some of the top 25 publishers below).
  4. What is the company doing to convert mobile visitors into customers?
    (Hint: can mobile visitors easily make a purchase? Click-to-call? Click-to-email? Find your location? Sign up for offers by email or SMS?)

Other interesting stats from comScore’s report:

• Smartphone penetration in the US has now reached 51 percent (according to comScore other countries such as Spain (66 percent); UK (64 percent); Canada (62 percent); France (53 percent); Italy (53 percent) have higher smartphone penetration). While this is a remarkable landmark, no company should forget that 49 percent of mobile users have a feature phone.
• Despite having an expensive pocket computer, most commonly people only use smartphones for basic functions: sending text messages (90.5 percent); taking photos (83.4 percent); email (77.8 percent); checking the weather (67.1 percent); social networking (65.3 percent); searching (58.7 percent); playing games (52.9 percent); mapping (51.2 percent); reading news (49.2 percent); listening to music (48.0 percent). N.B. They could do virtually all these things on most feature phones, though arguably the experience with some e.g. playing games might be superior on a smartphone.
• Among smartphones, the most popular operating system in the US is Android (53.4 percent), followed by Apple iOS (36.3 percent).

Top 25 US digital properties 2012, with PC and mobile visitors


Top 25 US digital properties 2012, with PC and mobile visitors, according to comScore
RANK Publisher Total digital population PC visitors Mobile visitors Percentage visiting by mobile Incremental audience via mobile
1 Google 223.5m 193.8m 113.7m 50.9% 15%
2 Yahoo! 206.8m 185.9m 92.2m 44.6% 11%
3 Facebook 185.3m 150.3m 97.7m 52.7% 23%
4 Microsoft 178.7m 171m 55.2m 30.9% 5%
5 Amazon 159.6m 128.2m 80.5m 50.4% 24%
6 AOL 140.2m 117.6m 62.4m 44.5% 19%
7 Glam Media 128.3m 110.6m 50.4m 39.3% 16%
8 Ask Network 121.8m 104.2m 48m 39.4% 17%
9 Apple 108.6m 83.7m 51.6m 47.5% 30%
10 Turner Digital 104.9m 85.7m 44.7m 42.6% 22%
11 CBS Interactive 104.4m 87.1m 42.1m 40.4% 20%
12 Wikimedia 103.6m 85.9m 41.7m 40.2% 21%
13 eBay 95.5m 77.7m 39.5m 41.4% 23%
14 Demand Media 89.2m 74.9m 33.4m 37.5% 19%
15 Comcast NBCUniversal 88.6m 71.1m 37.3m 42.1% 25%
16 Viacom Digital 80.6m 71.7m 22.3m 27.7% 12%
17 Federated Media Publishing 78.7m 64.6m 30.1m 38.3% 22%
18 The Weather Channel 69.8m 48.9m 34.9m 50% 43%
19 Wal-Mart 66.2m 52.2m 26.7m 40.4% 27%
20 Pandora 65.8m 25.8m 52.6m 79.9% 155%
21 Answers.com 64.9m 49.2m 28m 43.1% 32%
22 Gannett 63.6m 48.2m 27.5m 43.3% 32%
23 ESPN 61.5m 38.7m 34.6m 56.3% 59%
24 VEVO 59.8m 56.8m 5.5m 9.2% 5%
25 Twitter 59.3m 40.7m 29.6m 50% 46%
Source: © comScore Media Metrix (Feb 2013) © mobiThinking



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