July 8, 2016

The State of Mobile News Audiences in 3 Charts

Adam Lella
Senior Marketing Insights Analyst

If you’re between the ages of 18-34, there’s a strong chance you’re reading this on a mobile device right now. That’s because, like many other digital categories, news consumption has increasingly shifted to mobile in recent years, and Millennials (defined here as Persons 18-34) are the ones leading this trend. Below are three charts based on comScore Mobile Metrix® and Media Metrix® Multi-Platform data, along with a key takeaway and explanation for each, that illustrate this platform shift.

  1. Mobile audiences are growing faster in the News/Information category than they are for the Total Mobile Population.

    In the past three years, news audiences have grown 66% on mobile, despite just 57% additional mobile internet users overall. Several categories within News/Information are soaring at even faster rates, such as digital Newspapers, which has more than doubled its mobile audience the last three years, and Politics, whose mobile readership has grown to more than 6x what it was in 2013.

    Mobile Audience Trend
  2. 96% of Millennial digital news readers get their news from mobile, and 36% of them only get their news from mobile.

    Millennials are a major contributor to the mobile category growth we’re seeing, as this generation spends a lot of time on social media like Facebook and Twitter that drive huge amounts of referral traffic to online news publishers. Among all Millennial digital news consumers, an incredible 96% now get their news via mobile, while more than a third rely exclusively on mobile for their online news consumption. The age 35-54 demographic are also leaning more heavily on mobile, with 94% of this segment getting some or all of their digital news on smartphones and tablets. Even the oldest age segment in this analysis – that is, users 55 years-and-older – get much of their news on mobile, with 72% of them consuming on the medium at least once per month.

    Share of Visitation by Demographic
  3. Nearly 3 out of every 4 minutes Millennials spend reading news online now comes from mobile.

    Not only are Millennials more likely to visit a news property on mobile than on desktop, but they also spend more time on mobile news properties. 72% of the time they spend consuming online news now comes from mobile, a far higher skew than their older news-reading counterparts. That said, 35-54 year-old users can also count themselves as a mobile-leaning demographic as they also spend the majority of their online news consumption time (58%) on mobile. Only those age 55+ still rely more heavily on desktop for news.

    Share of Time Spent by Demographic

It just so happens that news, by definition, is real-time, and consumers are on-the-go for much of the day. Mobile should be viewed by news publishers as complementary – not cannibalistic – to their digital readership.

To learn more about how several traditional print publishers are using mobile and social to successfully grow their digital audiences, check out our blog post on this topic here.

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