Magazine article ADWEEK

Hearst Reboots Mobile Mag Sites in Ad Push: Will Bet on New Rich Media Units to Draw Advertisers to Small Screen

Magazine article ADWEEK

Hearst Reboots Mobile Mag Sites in Ad Push: Will Bet on New Rich Media Units to Draw Advertisers to Small Screen

Article excerpt

There's no question about it--mobile traffic is booming as people spend more time hunched over their little screens. For magazines, it represents an opportunity to capture more readers and try to convert them to paying ones.

But advertising on small screens hasn't kept up. Research by Flurry Analytics found that mobile gets 23 percent of consumers' time but only 1 percent of ad spending. In turn, advertisers are reluctant to commit to a medium where screen sizes and audiences are all over the place, not to mention measurement and ad rates.

At Hearst Magazines, mobile drives 25 percent of its Internet traffic (and 40 percent at mothership Cosmopolitan, heading toward 50 percent by year's end), helped by the decision to convert its sites to HTML5, growth of social media and proliferation of the devices themselves. But mobile ad revenue was expected to represent only a l0th of Hearst Magazines' total digital dollars in 2013. "There's a really big revenue opportunity around mobile," said Grant Whitmore, vp of digital. "Mobile devices are the next frontier as a platform opportunity."

Whitmore thinks mobile can be much bigger, though. The company is rolling out responsive design across all its sites starting in early 2013, so that the content is tailored to the users' expectations depending on what size device they're using. So while longform might be the first thing readers see on a brand's site, the mobile experience might focus on news and tips. …

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