Carriers’ mobile Web portals, or “decks,” still drive a large amount of traffic on the mobile Web. But as phones, browsers, and mobile search engines improve, the deck continues to lose its potency.
During Q2, some 46% of traffic to mobile sites serviced by mobile publishing/ad firm Crisp Wireless came from carrier decks, down from 53% in Q1. Meanwhile, traffic from search engines increased to 9.5% in Q2 from 7.5% in Q1 — led by Google, which accounted for 82% of that search engine traffic, followed by Yahoo (6.7%) and Microsoft (6.6%).
Why the change? As more mobile users upgrade to smartphones — which include better browsers, keyboards, user interfaces, etc. — they rely less on the deck to find where they’re going, and can more easily search, or simply type in a Web site’s address.
What does this mean for carriers? It’s a mixed bag. The deck provides a revenue stream as publishers and search partners pay for walled-garden placement and share ad revenue. That revenue will eventually diminish if people stop using the deck. But better browsers and “off-deck” browsing is a vastly improved experience, which should lead to more mobile Web usage — and more monthly subscription fees for mobile Web access.
Boilerplate caveat: This is one set of data from one source — and is specifically tied to Crisp’s customer base of 200-plus Web publishers, which Crisp says attracts “nearly one-third” of all unique visitors on the mobile Web.
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