The Duplication Complex: Failing to Acknowledge the Importance of ‘Mobile-Only’ Audiences
The advertising industry has come a long way in a short period of time when it comes to mobile and display advertising. With the rapid rise of mobile, agencies and advertisers have had to rapidly change their approach to reach consumers who now spend more than half their digital media time on smartphones and tablets.
But have they been lulled into a false sense of security in thinking mobile that has grown so much that everyone is accessing content from both Desktop and Mobile? While recent Comscore data suggests we now have a ‘multi-platform majority’ in the U.S., the reality is that a much smaller percentage of most individual publishers’ audience access from both platforms. An advertiser might assume that if they are buying only desktop ads on Pandora or Amazon or Facebook that they would presumably be reaching their mobile audiences as well, right? Wrong. Not only have mobile audiences for publishers approach or even surpass that of desktop, those audiences have grown independently of traditional desktop audiences.
Using Comscore MMX Multi-Platform, the top digital media properties can be analyzed in terms of their Mobile-Only Audience, i.e. the portion of a publisher’s Total Digital Population that never visited their website via desktop. This audience isn’t a mere rounding error of a few thousand unique visitors; rather, it represents tens of millions of people at each publisher that would otherwise not be reached via traditional desktop display ads.
Top U.S. Properties by Mobile-Only Audience
Total Digital Population
Mobile-Only Visitors as a % of Total
Wikimedia Foundation Sites
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For each of these publishers, at least 20% of their Total Digital Population is mobile-only. In Pandora’s or Buzzfeed’s case, well over 50% comes exclusively from mobile! An advertiser only working with these properties from a display standpoint would be missing out on literally tens of millions of people potentially in their target audience.
Who is the ‘Mobile-Only’ Consumer?
Of course it would be particularly important for advertisers to understand which demographic segments are represented among this mobile-only audience. According to MMX Multi-Platform’s Demographic Profile report, in Amazon’s case, it’s not just young, tech savvy consumers as one might expect. Though 18-34 year olds do comprise a notable percentage of the audience, data also suggests that ‘mobile-only’ Amazon visitors span a wide range of ages that includes more than 25 million between the ages of 35-64. Certainly an important consideration if you are interested in reaching buyers of all ages.
Why You Should Care About ‘Mobile-Only’ Users in an Increasingly Multi-Platform World
Now, a skeptic of mobile-only marketing might argue that it’s only a matter of time before the vast majority of internet users access the web from both desktop and smartphones. With smartphones now at 65 percent penetration and still growing strongly, it may not be that long until we are not just a ‘multi-platform majority’ but actually ‘multi-platform dominant.’ But while this may be true of overall internet usage, it will not be true of individual publishers who will still see significant mobile-only audiences each month. Recent Comscore data shows this phenomenon is far from slowing down:
MMX Multi-Platform reports can help publishers, advertisers and agencies quantify the size and value of these mobile audiences. 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.