Mobile media is approaching a standard measure of “critical mass” – the point at which at least half the population uses it to “connect to media,” Mark Donovan, senior vice president and senior mobile analyst at comScore said Monday evening while revealing some compelling new statistics about the rapid adoption of mobile consumer media technologies at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s MIXX conference in New York. Donovan released data showing that nearly 48% of America’s 112 million mobile phone users now regularly use their devices to access media content, other than voice or text, and that number will tip the halfway mark by the end of the year.
Donovan said the emergence of smartphones, and especially Apple’s IOS and Google’s Android operating systems, have been the big game-changers driving mobile media consumption, but that other non-PC-connected devices, particularly tablet computers, are affecting consumer media behavior at an even faster rate.
While conventional computers still account for 93.2% of all Web traffic, according to the latest comScore estimates, Donovan said “mobile devices” – especially smartphones and tablets – now account for nearly two-thirds (64.4%) of all non-personal computer-connected Web access, and are growing fast. Among those mobile devices, Donovan said tablets are the fastest-growing segment, and that tablet devices now represent 28.1% of all non-computer traffic to the Web, and that Apple’s iPads are the dominant portion (97%) of that market.
Donovan said the rapid growth of mobile Web access is having a remarkable effect on Web publishing, citing comScore stats showing that top publishers now get a significant amount of their total traffic from mobile devices. He said The New York Times currently gets 7.6% of its audience from mobile, while USA Today gets 10% and the Los Angeles Times gets 11.2%.
Some digital native publishers get even more. Online music service Pandora, for example, currently gets more than half (52%) of its total traffic from a mobile device.
While mobile traffic still is a tiny slice of the total Internet (just 0.2%), it is adding significant incremental reach for specific categories of content. Mobile boosts traffic to online mapping services 56.8%, and increases the duration of time users spend on mapping sites by 9.2 times.
Donovan said mobile has also become a significant factor for social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, where many users access them solely via mobile devices.
Currently, he said, mobile is boosting social network traffic by about 12.5%, and expands the duration those users spend with social media by 2.8 times.
“There are people who are only doing Facebook or Twitter on their phone,” Donovan noted, citing recent comments by executives at Facebook and Twitter that they are becoming mobile companies.