The Pew Research Center published a report this week stating that 25% of American teens surveyed say they are “cell-mostly” internet users: their smartphone is the primary way they access the internet. The report goes on to highlight that 37% of American teens own a smartphone, a significant increase from just 23% in 2011. More and more, teens are moving away from desktop and laptop computers and towards mobile devices as their primary access to the internet. Teens are especially worth paying attention to, as their behavior and adoption of technology has historically predicted future trends in the greater population.
In addition to the Pew report, Cisco recently released its own forecast for mobile traffic growth, projecting that mobile internet use will surge by a rate of 66% each year for the next five years. Cisco expects that by 2017 mobile traffic will be three times greater than the traffic from more traditional desktop and laptop computers.
These reports got me curious. How, I wondered, does Vital’s mobile traffic compare with the general trends and projections? It also made me wonder whether Vital’s traffic was showing the same age-related correlation: Are the Vital sites with the most teen users showing more mobile traffic? (Median audience age: Vital MX – 37, Vital MTB – 29, Vital BMX – 17). I decided to dig into our analytics to find out…
Vital MTB had more than 110,00 unique visitors from mobile devices (includes smartphones and tablets) in January 2013, accounting for 30% of total unique visitors. When compared to January of last year, Vital MTB mobile traffic is up 89%.
Vital MX had more than 129,000 mobile unique visitors in January, representing 33% of total unique visitors. When compared to January 2012, Vital MX mobile traffic is up 52%.
Vital BMX had more than 141,000 unique visitors from mobile devices in January, accounting for 33% of total unique visitors. Compared to January of last year, Vital BMX mobile traffic is up 77%.
Vital’s mobile traffic growth is outpacing what even the current research would predict. Cisco projects mobile traffic to grow by 66% per year for the next five years, and the average growth in unique mobile visitors between Vital’s three sites from January 2012 to January 2013 was 73%. With regards specifically to age as a factor, Vital BMX has the lowest median audience age and is tied with Vital MX, the site with the highest median audience age, for percentage of mobile traffic. It seems that Vital’s audience members are increasing their use of mobile devices across the board, regardless of age.
Vital’s mobile traffic has grown significantly across all sites and demographics because we’ve invested in building and continually improving our mobile platforms. We’ve seen the migration to mobile coming for a while now, and we were early in creating mobile optimized sites and video players that are compatible across all devices. Looking forward, we’ve got big plans to continue to enhance the mobile experience of our sites. Look for many new exciting updates to Vital’s mobile platforms in the near future. In the words of Mary Madden, author of the Pew Research Center’s report, “We are barreling towards a mobile future.” As such, Vital is actively positioning itself to continue to improve our mobile experience and help our clients connect with the “cell-mostly” consumers of tomorrow.