StatCounter will tell you that in the US, at this moment, 15.8 percent of web traffic is coming from mobile devices. Given that there are roughly 150 million smartphones in the country that seems like a relatively small percentage of overall traffic.
While the aggregate number may still be small, when one looks more closely at particular sites and categories, as well as other metrics, a very different picture emerges. Mobile is rapidly becoming a dominant driver of traffic and search queries in many categories.
For example, the following are a cross section of recently reported mobile metrics:
- Facebook’s daily active user base in the US is 78 percent mobile
- Yelp: 59 percent of searches are mobile
- YP: 50 percent of search on network is from mobile
- Walker Sands (PR firm): 29 percent of clients’ traffic coming from mobile
- Zillow: more than 50 percent of traffic coming from mobile
- Retail consulting and research firm the e-Tailing Group found in a 2013 retailer survey that 29 percent of retailers said more than 20 percent of their traffic was coming from the mobile web or mobile apps (20+ percent was the highest category choice)
Time spent is an even more powerful metric. According to comScore US internet time spent via mobile devices in May exceeded internet time spent on the PC (477 billion minutes vs. 481 billion).
Mobile advertising in the US last year was about 9 percent ($3.4 billion) of total online advertising ($36.6 billion) according to the IAB.
If you subscribe to the “ad spending will catch up to time spent” theory of ad forecasting then you would probably agree with KPCB’s Mary Meeker that mobile advertising is a $20+ billion opportunity in the US alone.
However I suspect it will still be a number of years (5 – 7) before we see this sort of alignment between ad spending and mobile time spent. A decade later internet ad spending still hasn’t caught up to consumer behavior.