Publishers' mobile blindspot

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Henry Taylor:

With many publishers reporting that half their audience or more is now coming from mobile devices, it’s surprising, and slightly worrying, that almost half of “the most popular print media publications in the United Kingdom” – 45 percent – do not have a digital site that displays effectively on mobile devices, according to research from Vibrant Media’s Mobile Advertising Readiness Survey.

One of the last things I did before I left RBI was prepare a mobile strategy baseline document (that would have fed into more detailed strategy documents to follow if I’d stayed). A quick look around their sites – like my old home at Estates Gazette – suggests that even the most basic of those suggestions haven’t been implemented a quarter of a decade later:

Estates Gazette: not responsive

How about FlightGlobal?

Fg non mobile

Tiny touch targets, near illegible text? These are not sites welcoming to the mobile visitor.

We now know that many titles have passed 50% of their traffic coming from mobile – the FT for example. Even this blog gets 35% of its traffic from mobile devices. And yet, so many publishers are still dragging their feet on this. Why?

Mobile has long ceased being the device you use when you’re away from your desk, and for many it has become the primary device people use.

And yet, I suspect the argument is something along the lines of “oh, our site doesn’t attract much mobile traffic – why should we optimise for it?”. Well, perhaps you should optimise it because you’re not getting much of it, because the chances are it’s going elsewhere. Somewhere that actually cares about a good reader experience…

adaptive designmobilemobile strategypublishing strategyresponsive design

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.