The $5B Mobile Web Opportunity-Part II

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As you may have seen from our previous post, we did an analysis across approximately 1 Billion user sessions on our network to understand the difference in user behavior and key metrics for people visiting web pages from desktop and mobile devices. We looked only at sessions where users hit un-optimized web pages to compare key statistics such as time on site, bounce rate ( < = 1pageview ) and pages per session. Intuitively it would stands to reason that dense, link-filled, nav-heavy, ad-heavy web pages, suitable for a large screen, would not satisfy users on the small screen.

Visitors from mobile devices to un-optimized web pages exhibited significantly poorer usage statics than PC users. In fact, given the current growth of Mobile Web consumption, this gap could result in as much as $5B in lost revenue by 2015.

As part of the original post, we promised to share findings along the way as we launched customers on our new Mobile Web offering, and we decided to do an initial check in after the first 4 weeks of being live. While we expected significant improvement, we didn’t quite expect such a dramatic impact in such a short time. Here are the summary stats from our initial analysis:

Optimized mobile user engagement compared to un-optimized mobile user engagement:
- Reduced bounce rate by 48%
- Increased pages per visit by 110%
- Increase time on site by 93%

Optimized mobile user engagement compared to PC web user engagement:
- Bounce rate: 14% higher (down from 124% higher pre-launch)
- Pages per visit: 125% higher (up from 23% higher pre-launch)
- Time on site: 57% lower (but up from 90% lower pre-launch)

A few interesting observations: First, bounce rates have now come in line with the PC experience. This was a hoped-for outcome and great to see. It means that the investment in content is independent of the user experience i.e. improvements in the content offering, be they timeliness or editorial or quality should lower bounce rates across both Web and Mobile.

Second, pageviews per session skyrocketed and in fact surpassed PC users. This is not totally surprising, as articles on a mobile device typically require multiple pageviews because of constrained screen real estate. However, this bodes extremely well for advertising inventory and opportunity.

Third, and also not surprisingly, time on site is significantly lower on Mobile vs Web, but increased substantially with an optimized experience, paralleling the drop in the bounce rate. Mobile devices, specifically the smartphone, will continue to be a content “snacking” device, given the short staccato-time intervals that users consume content on their phones.

Coming up we will be evaluating the impact of the HTML5 app-like experiences we are deploying as they relate to these metrics, and look forward to sharing those metrics.

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