The next wave

At GigaOm, Ryan Kim documents how the rise of mobile search, payments and shopping is paving the way for a “mobile-first world”. Services like Pandora (60%), Twitter (55%) and MyYearbook (54%) already see the majority of their traffic coming from mobile platforms.

Kim notes that commerce on mobile devices more than doubled to 18.3% this past Christmas season. While Amazon’s price-check promotion was controversial, it also got more people using their smartphones at retail.

Much as the rise of digital content has challenged publishers to rethink how content is created and managed, mobile is reconfiguring the relationship between producer and consumer. Although there are good examples of mobile-ready content sites (the New York Times was an early leader in this regard), many publishers have yet to tackle the delivery of content to mobile platforms.

Magellan is among the latter group. Our site (and this blog) are not optimized for mobile.

Today, about 20% of our traffic originates on a mobile platform. Google Analytics confirms that our mobile visitors spend less than half as much time on the site, and they click through to another page only a third as often, when compared with traffic from other sources.

Numbers like those signal lost opportunities, ones that will only grow in importance over time. In 2011, smartphone ownership reached 44% in the United States, and it is expected to pass the halfway mark in 2012. Traditional site designs and content offerings risk being left behind.

I’ve written before that there are many ways to meet market demand for devices and content offerings. Apps are sometimes critical, but being mobile-ready is going to be mandatory soon, if it isn’t already.

Of course, that’s also a note to myself.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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