The Mobile Web Is for Fun and the PC Web Is for Everything Else


cs_logo1The mobile web and the PC web may not be all that different, but data out today from comScore implies that the users are. Numbers released by the group suggest that those spending the least amount of time in front of their PCs are 30 percent more likely to surf on their mobiles.

It’s all a bit obvious, if you think about it — if you’re sitting at a desk all day online, you don’t need to use a mobile to access information — but it also negates the assumption that the heaviest PC web surfers are the same people using their phones to go online.

The study found that 15.2 percent of light PC Internet users accessed news and information on their mobile device at least once per week, compared to just 11.7 percent of heavy PC Internet users. Heavy PC Internet users (20 percent of those surveyed) were defined as those who viewed 6,701 pages on average in a month, light users (about 50 percent of those surveyed) as those who viewed 1,104 pages. The rest were classified as medium users.

The study determined that mobile Internet users are more likely to be males (58 percent) aged 18-44. Heavy mobile Internet users also show a high engagement with web sites that provide information such as regional and local content, entertainment and sports information. You know, the fun stuff.

In contrast, light mobile Internet users are heavier users of the PC, and gravitate toward Internet content that includes education, conversational media, travel, business/finance and retail — in other words, pretty much everything else. Notably, much of it would also be difficult to consume while on the go.

If you think about web usage as being either consumption- or contribution-based, much of mobile activity falls into the consumption category, likely because of the limitations involved in typing in a blog post or researching a vacation on a cell phone. So it’s possible that even heavy Internet users will spend more time on mobiles if there were a way for them to contribute easily while on the go.

Even without heavy PC web users replicating their voracious surfing on cell phones, mobile web use keeps growing. In total, 42 million people used their mobile devices in October 2008 to access news and information content on the Internet, an increase of 57 percent from October 2007. The study covered usage for the three-month average ended October 2008, and 1,328 people participated.


The Agra Indian

Internet on mobile is good only to check email and for other light uses. People who are addicted to internet get frustrated very soon because of very poor bandwidth and it is more expensive then broadband connection on PC.


The study also shows that while more information is easily accessible via the PC, the mobile device is assuming a more personal link to the user than the PC does. Perhaps people feel more confident, or save some of their more personal experiences for when they are with the mobile device. In terms of how that benefits markets, there is a real need and buzz around reaching people at their “point of passion” and this study seems to suggest that users are more apt to be in that “passionate” frame of mind when using their mobile devices (i.e. seeking out the local, entertainment and sports info they really enjoy). Receiving brand messages at the same time about related items/services is bound to have a positive brand impact here. Expanded a little bit on how we’re seeing this mindset push the mobile advertising forward on our blog:

Dave Gwozdz, CEO of Mojiva


Great post on a very interesting study! To Scott’s comment, I think the cost associated with mobile bandwidth and why it hasn’t been taken on by advertising through the carriers is is a rgeat question. Really what I see delaying it are two factors
1.) Mobile networks are still in constant development, 3G is still becoming the standard and now 4G is coming through Clearwire/Sprint and Verizon’s LTE, all this infrastructure will cost billions of dollars meaning the carriers need to keep their margins up
2.) Advertisers view mobile as emerging and experimental still, something they are not willing to spend large sums of money on, so by adding a second layer of costs to advertisers (content owners AND carriers) it becomes more prohibitive.

With people like T-Mobile introducing $50 all inclusive data plans to compete with Verizon and Sprints $99 all inclusive plans we may see a price war which will benefit consumers. If this happens and more consumers are using the mobile web then likely we’ll see more advertisers coming to help subsidize the cost of the mobile web for both carriers and consumers.

Jim Gregoire

Great post and its terrific to see continued industry interest in the mobile web ‘story’. These findings are consistent with what we see Stacey here where the mobile web is about convenience and privacy – we’re talking about an entire generation of mobile-addicts. They (Americans 16-25) are addicted to their mobiles because it supports their lifetyle – very active and social – so its essentially an appendage. GenY mobile addicts see the computer mostly (not entirely) as a device for formal communication with authority figures like teachers, bosses and parents. On the other hand mobile is about fun, social and friends.



So if the mobile web is for fun. For “regional and local content, entertainment and sports information”, why is mobile bandwidth the most expensive and most often capped bandwidth? I’d think these uses are the ones with the most advertising/entertainment revenue on top of the pipe revenue. When will carriers figure out they need to get in those streams themselves or find a better way to tax the content providers more than the content consumers?

Francis Simisim

Although the numbers for mobile are still quite low, with big players like facebook, myspace all fighting for the mobile space, would mobile web dominate the PC web at some point?


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