News and information outlets ranging from the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to Business Insider and About.com all can point to rapid growth in mobile usage. Time spent on publishers’ mobile offerings jumped 40 per cent in the 12 months through July and now accounts for 55 per cent of total time spent on their properties, up from 42 per cent two years ago, according to estimates by measurement specialist comScore.
The problem is that for many publishers mobile revenue isn’t keeping pace—by a long shot—creating what industry executives are calling a “mobile gap.”
Selling advertising on mobile devices is proving difficult: It is hard to show mobile users enough ads, traditional ad formats like “banners” perform miserably, and publishers can’t easily do sophisticated tracking and targeting of ads. These issues extend from publishers’ mobile websites to their apps.
Meanwhile, online giants Facebook Inc., Google Inc. and Twitter Inc.—who sidestep many of those issues—are mopping up the mobile dollars marketers are spending. Facebook alone accounted for 37 per cent of all U.S. mobile display advertising revenue in 2014, according to eMarketer.