The Problem With Mobile

One of the biggest criticisms of Facebook is its mobile strategy, “with more than half of its 845 million monthly active users accessed the social network through mobile apps or its mobile website, both of which sport no ads”.

Ben Parr points out that Facebook recognize this themselves, even referencing it in its IPO filing, “If users increasingly access Facebook mobile products as a substitute for access through personal computers, and if we are unable to successfully implement monetization strategies for our mobile users, or if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our financial performance and ability to grow revenue would be negatively affected.”

While this is a challenge for Facebook, it needs to be recognized that this is a substantial hurdle for all media organizations to overcome, not simply a burden for the social network. To put it simply, a smaller screen size mean less space for ads.

It is highly significant for the print media sector. The shift to digital is a major challenge for the newspaper industry, According to the Pew Research Center, U.S. newspapers lost $10 in print advertising revenue in 2011 for every $1 they gained online.

As consumers shift to mobile, this will put an even tighter squeeze on print media’s digital advertising fortunes.

With smartphones set to become ubiquitous and tablets quickly gathering pace in terms of adoption, these trends are going to put even greater pressure on dwindling numbers in newsrooms across the globe.

For print media organizations, the question simply isn’t how to create a successful digital business, but also how to make sure mobile is at the heart of its strategy.

It underlines the fact that print media organizations simply can’t give their product away for free anymore.

On a sidenote, this Wired article about how mobile is disrupting the spread of Internet memes is worth a read also.

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Piaras Kelly
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