By Vilan Trub, Business Wire
Millennials have been riding the wave of digital revolution for close to a decade, leaving behind a wake of influence over every industry. Well, for news media, the crest just broke and as we all bob up and down in an ocean of technology, we need to brace for the oncoming information tidal wave known as the mobile generation.
The Pew Research Center has released a series of data detailing the current state of news media for 2015 and the numbers are as era defining as when the final issues of LIFE magazine saw their way to the printers. Of the top 50 digital news websites, 39 saw more traffic to their sites and associated applications come from a mobile source than from a desktop computer.
Trying to understand this trend is pointless. It doesn’t matter if people are choosing to use mobile devices because of their convenience while on the go or out of actual preference. What does matter is the growing dominance of mobile technology and communication professionals must adapt, just as they did nearly a decade ago when Millennials first opened the doors on modern news consumption.
In January of 2015, Yahoo-ABC News saw 93,160 unique visitors to their sites and associated applications coming from mobile devices while only 59,099 visited from a desktop computer. Other news outlets that saw similar disparity include CNN Network, NBC News Digital, Huffington Post, USA Today sites, BuzzFeed, and The New York Times Brand. For the communications industry, this pattern dictates that both editorial news, and company issued news, must be compatible with mobile platforms in order to reach the desired audience.
Besides shedding light on how people consume their news, the Pew analysis also revealed a startling trend. Although individuals more often consume their news using a mobile device, they spend less time doing so per visit. For 40 of the 50 top news sites, visitors using desktop computers spent the same if not more time per visit. For 25 of those sites, the time spent per visit from desktop users was at least 10% higher when compared to those using a mobile device.
It is clear to news outlets that it is becoming harder to keep an individual’s attention on a single piece of news. This is a challenge communication professionals have been facing for years. And the answer is the same for both types of content creation; in each case, article or news release, the addition of multimedia is statistically shown to be more effective in keeping a viewer engaged and scientifically shown to convey a message in a much shorter amount of time than a text-only message, 60,000 times faster to be exact. Consider multimedia as a passport, allowing editorial coverage and news releases to travel safely and efficiently into mobile territory. Interactive multimedia, the gamification of the news release, has shown an average engagement of 6:12 minutes. Compare that to the average engagement with text-only news releases of only 20 and 30 seconds.
The facts are in and the best practice would be to analyze them and, as with every wave, go with the flow. The mobile generation wants their news when they want it, and when they get it, they don’t want it for long. That’s not to say that the public has lost interest; on the contrary, news consumption is at an all-time high. It’s just a different type of news consumption, one that engages more senses, and communication pros need to take notice and make changes to the process today. Remember, you can fight that wave and lose, drowning in a constant evolution of technology serving up a constant stream of content, or you can ride it out and bask in the sunshine above.
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