Mobile has come to completely dominate the audience numbers of some well-known Internet properties.
According to comScore data, mobile-only users accounted for at least 65 per cent of the total U.S. audience of Groupon, Pandora, and Zynga in February.
Because of their big incremental gains in audience from mobile-only users, these companies’ audience on mobile exceeds their desktop audience by a significant margin.
A second group of sites — ESPN, Twitter, and Yelp — had a mobile-only audience that was roughly one-third of their total audience.
Note that these numbers don’t necessarily say anything about mobile engagement: how much time mobile users spend on their site or app versus desktop. For example, Twitter has a pretty large mobile audience, but we can’t necessarily conclude from that figure that the majority of its traffic — and user engagement on the site — is from mobile.
In any case, mobile-only usage and traffic are particularly important metrics to watch at ad supported content companies. Why? Mobile ad rates still badly lag their desktop counterparts.
In the case of Pandora, mobile ad rates have barely budged even as mobile traffic has skyrocketed. Part of that is due to a glut in supply, but effectively it means that Pandora makes less money for every listener hour than before.
Keep an eye on the New York Times as well. Online ad dollars for newspapers have been described as “digital dimes” compared to the historically more sizeable print ad revenues. If that is the case, how will the site survive the onslaught of mobile pennies?
Here’s a look at the proportion of U.S. mobile users to desktop users for the same companies:
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