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Episode 07: Mobile Mythbusters
“My assumption is desktop is basically dead.”
Sachin and Andrew analyze data behind the growth of mobile in 2017 and how referral traffic from platforms like Flipboard and Instagram factored in. Plus, they discuss Facebook’s News Feed algorithm and aggregation theory and go +1/-1 on their personal habits with devices, like taking your phone to bed. (Sachin: “I definitely do it…I’ve never not done it.” Andrew: “I do it but I hate that I do it.”)
Industry news that caught our attention:
1:28 – How three recent changes to the News Feed algorithm impact publishers.
7:12 – The concept of “aggregation theory” and thinking about how it applies to Facebook, mobile, and news media.
Data that held our attention:
15:03 – What’s the current state of mobile usage? Is desktop dead?
“So I basically went into our data warehouse and looked back over many, many billions of news reading sessions that we track across the Parse.ly network and I tried to figure out whether certain categories of devices were growing over time.” —Andrew Montalenti
“What we’re seeing in the data is that desktop makes up about 25% of total traffic to publishers. The biggest category there ends up being small form-factor mobile devices at 65%, with the rest going to tablets and other devices.” —Andrew Montalenti
17:50 – Readership on the mobile web has continued to grow quickly.
19:41 – Facebook saw a major decline in mobile traffic in 2017, but mobile audiences on other platforms like Flipboard and Instagram grew.
“We saw a few big sources of traffic grow specifically on mobile in late 2017. The big surprise one was Flipboard. We analyzed the numbers and found that they grew 300% over the course of a year.” —Andrew Montalenti
22:28 – How our mindset and therefore our content consumption differs when we’re browsing on different devices.
24:48 – The need for mobile speed and providing unique, positive user experiences.
“I think it’s unequivocal that mobile still demands a lot of our time and attention when we’re thinking about building strategies to grow audiences via content, or just audiences in general.” —Sachin Kamdar
+1 or -1?
26:55 – Taking your phone to bed.
29:13 – Using tablets for work vs. leisure.
31:31 – Reading on Kindles and other eReaders.
- The End of the Social News Era? Journalists Brace for Facebook’s Big Change, Sapna Maheshwari and Sydney Ember, The New York Times
- Facebook says it will push more local news stories into your News Feed, Peter Kafka, Recode
- Aggregation Theory, Ben Thompson, Stratechery
- Offtime app
This episode was recorded on February 5th, 2018.