Top Digital Properties’ Mobile-Only Audiences Are Growing Quickly

March 20, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Mobile Phone | Tablet

comScore-US-Mobile-Only-Audience-Trends-Top-Properties-Mar2014Mobile-only visitor counts to leading publishers are growing rapidly, belying the notion that consumers are accessing content from both desktops and mobiles, says comScore in a release of new data. In fact, for each of the top 10 US properties by mobile-only audience, that audience accounts for at least 20% of the publisher’s total digital population. In essence, desktop display ads won’t reach those visitors, who now number in the tens of millions.

The top publisher by number of mobile-only unique visitors, Apple, sported a mobile-only audience that exceeded 65 million in January of this year, up more than 60% from February 2013. Other top sites are growing even more quickly: Buzzfeed’s mobile-only visitor count, for example, more than quadrupled over that period, while AOL’s more than doubled.

For most of these publishers, mobile-only visitors now represent at least one-third of their total digital audience. Not surprisingly, of the top 10, Pandora derives the largest share (73%) of its total digital audience from mobile-only visitors, with BuzzFeed (54%) and Apple (49%) next.

Interestingly, 6 of the top 10 publishers by mobile-only audience also appear on the list of top 10 properties by desktop-only audience. Some notable exceptions: Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft sites, the top 3 publishers by desktop-only visitors, but absent from the mobile-only top 10. Nevertheless, most of these publishers have large desktop visitor counts, too – and their mobile-only audiences are growing independently of those desktop audiences. A quick comparison of audience growth between February 2013 and January 2014 for Facebook and Amazon, for example, reveals that both saw a decrease in desktop-only visitors during that time frame, even as their mobile-only audiences swelled.

The data also suggests that mobile-only visitors aren’t just Millennials. Mobile-only visitors to Amazon, which comprised 31% of its total digital audience in January, were slightly more likely to be aged over 35 than to be in the 18-34 bracket. Indeed, Amazon had 25 million mobile-only visitors in January between the ages of 35 and 64 alone.

As comScore notes: “Until recently any claim that mobile-only audiences were important had to be taken as an article of faith; now there’s the data to prove it.”

The data follows from a recent revelation from comScore that Americans now spend more time accessing the internet via mobile applications than from desktops.

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