Posted August 8, 2013 4:38 pm by with 2 comments

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battle of the mobile devices

Mobile is to today’s content marketer what the printing press was for newspaper publishers. Thanks to these handy devices it’s easier than ever to put an abundance of content into a reader’s hands both quickly and cheaply.

Sure people still sit down at their computers to watch videos and read blogs and news but mobile does two things a PC can’t do. First, it allows people to access content almost anywhere and at anytime. That means they can catch up on their reading while standing in line at the bank. Or, as they do here in Southern California, while they’re stuck in traffic.

Second, mobile allows for laid back browsing – when you’re sitting on the couch waiting for the commercials to end so you can see who is going home on Project Runway. It’s the perfect time for consuming short chunks of information.

But not everything works well on a smartphone or a tablet, so Outbrain put together a colorful infographic that looks at what kinds of content people access with their various devices. I’m going to pull it apart so we can talk about it, but you can see the entire “Battle of the Mobile Devices” infographic when you click here.

Remember your color key when looking at these charts. Blue is desktop, pink is table and green is smartphone.

articles vs video

In the overall content battle, the desktop is still the big winner. But for articles, smartphones beat tablets. I was surprised by that. The opposite is true for video. Tablet owners click on videos way more often than smartphone users.

Outbrain then drilled down to look at the clickthrough rates on specific content categories.

top content outbrain

The blue line is the desktop baseline. Everything above the line represents more clickthroughs on a mobile device. For smartphone owners, Electronics articles are top performers. Entertainment articles are also an easy sell with Recreation and Sports coming in behind that. The categories are almost a mini-mirror for tablet owners except when it comes to Sports. In that category, tablet owners are more likely to click and read than smartphone owners.

What do you suppose that’s all about?

The sports theme carries through to video.

top videos outbrain

Looking at video clicks, Sports is a hit with tablet users again but smartphone owners don’t even come close to the desktop baseline. Same for Entertainment, News and Technology. So what videos do smartphone owners click on? Business and Finance videos are a huge hit. Travel is good, too. For everything else, it’s tablet or PC for the win.

I tried to find a plausible reason why smartphone owners prefer to read rather than watch. I suppose it could be because the screen is so small video viewing is more enjoyable on a tablet or PC. But you could say the same thing for reading articles on a small screen. Maybe it’s because videos involve sound and if you don’t have earbuds in you’re forcing everyone around you to listen, too. That’s annoying.

Or it could be that text is easily cut into small parts. I can read one page or one paragraph and go back to finish it later on. With a video, you’re in for the duration. If you have to stop in the middle, finding your place later on can be tricky.

The takeaway here is that smartphone users want to read your content, so make it easy for them by writing short, chunky pieces that display well on a mobile phone.

And if you’re reading this on your smartphone, write “I’m smart” in the comment box below.