The weekend is emerging as the new battleground for smartphone news consumption as yet another major publisher releases data showing that mobile traffic outstrips desktop on Saturday and Sunday.
Trinity Mirror tells TheMediaBriefing that in the UK in July, for the first time, mobile traffic beat desktop for every hour of the weekend on Mirror.co.uk, rising to well above half of the total audience. Tablet usage is also growing and represents as much as a fifth of the total. (For more on this trend: How mobile has changed daily news consumption and why you need to understand it)
Trinity also today relaunches its mobile-optimised site with a new smartphone-friendly responsive template designed to capitalise on this growth. Mirror.co.uk attracted almost 30 million unique browsers in June and is hoping for a big boost from The Sun's decision to restrict access to paying subscribers.
The diminishing importance of desktop PCs versus smartphones is a well-established trend and one that will dominate the big decisions consumer-facing publishers face, both editorially and commercially.
On Sunday morning, desktop's share of the total drops to 27 percent. Compare that to a standard weekday when it reaches 60 percent. On weekdays, mobile traffic plummets during working hours from an early morning peak and grows again in the evening.
Those graphs show UK traffic but the trend is repeated when the focus turns to the site's global audience, although desktop is more dominant, driven no doubt by search referrals:
And this doesn't just affect mass reach consumer celebrity/football/politics publishers either. The FT's audience-by-device chart, shared with us by FT data chief Tom Betts, shows a similar picture, albeit with much higher desktop spikes during the week.
And this is the equivalent from The Guardian, showing the exact same thing.
Both editorial and commercial leaders within mass consumer and specialist digital content businesses need to understand this development - here are just a few questions to ask:
- If you don't have a mobile-optimised site or a decent mobile app, there is no excuse. Readers expect it to just work. If it doesn't they will go elsewhere.
- What commercial opportunities arise from this weekend spike in smartphone readership? If not low value mobile ads, then what reader offers, surveys, tie-ins and promotions are being targeted to these people?
- It's a myth that mobile readers are constantly "on the move". As Martin Belam put it, not every smartphone user is always running for the bus. Some are sat on their sofa or at their desk. What are you doing to make the mobile experience enjoyable and in-depth, not just fit for 2-minute bursts?
- What would your content look like if the entirety of it was viewed using a smartphone? How much of it wouldn't work and how many opportunities are you losing to interact with readers commercially?