Not a member? Sign up

Pew on the demographics of mobile news

by: Amy Gahran |

Who's in your local mobile news audience? This week, a major new report offers insight could help you reach your local mobile news consumers.

The Pew Project on Excellence in Journalism and The Economist Group teamed up to produce The Demographics of Mobile News Habits. This report builds upon their October 2012 collaboration, The Future of Mobile News.

While most mobile news audience demographics parallel those for news delivered via print, broadcast and the computer-based web, there are some differences.

1. Mobile browser more popular than mobile apps. "The browser remains more popular than apps for getting mobile news, and its popularity has risen over the last year. Roughly 60% of tablet news users and smartphone news users mostly use the browser for news while about a quarter mostly use apps (the rest use a mix). But, the survey also found that app users tend to be more active mobile news consumers, carrying special appeal for news organizations."

Insight: Since the overall audience for any community news/info outlet is usually fairly small, it's best to make the core of your mobile strategy the channel likely to attract the most people, and play well with inbound links: the mobile web.

2. Gender dynamics. The mobile news audience skews male: about 40% of men get news daily on their mobile device, vs. about 30% of women (numbers vary slightly for smartphones vs. tablets). Also, men are especially likely to check a tablet frequently to get news, and to read in-depth articles. Women are more likely to use social media to get and share news. They're also more likely to use mobile social media daily -- especially on smartphones.

Insight: This may affect which stories or angles you emphasize in your mobile website vs. your conventional website. Also, if you have gender-targeted initiatives, such as local women's health, you might focus mobile efforts appropriately (say, via social media that includes mobile-friendly links).

3. Education and income. Overall, people with a college education are more likely to get mobile news daily, and they're slightly more likely to do so on a smartphone than on a tablet. In contrast, people who did not attend college are more likely to get mobile news on a tablet.

People earning $75,000 per year or more are most likely to get mobile news daily (39% tablet, 37% smartphone); while those earning under $30,000/year were the least likely (35% tablet, 30% smartphone).

Insight: If your community includes a significant low-income population, it's even more important to implement responsive web design that easily serves a greater diversity of mobile devices. This is especially true with the growing popularity of smaller tablets such as the Kindle Fire HD, the Nexus 7, and the iPad mini -- all likely to be popular gifts this holiday season. It's possible that the prevalence of wifi-only tablets, which do not require a carrier data plan, might account their popularity among lower-income mobile news users.

4. Older adults like tablet news. By age, the highest incidence of daily mobile news consumption was among tablet users aged 50-64 (43%). Adults aged 18-29 are lighter mobile news consumers, and they prefer smartphones (37%, vs. 33% for tablet mobile news).

Insight: Don't assume older community members aren't interested in mobile news. Doing some local mobile market research can help spot patterns and opportunities.

5. Mobile ad effectiveness. "A quarter or 18- to 29-year-old tablet news users touch ads (25%) versus 12% of 30- to 49-year-old news users and 7% of those 65 and older." But on smartphones: "The groups more likely to tap on ads are blacks and Hispanics ...[who] are both more than twice as likely as whites to at least sometimes touch or click on ads on their smartphone (23% of non-Hispanic blacks and 22% of Hispanics), compared with only 7% for non-Hispanic whites."

Insight: If you're selling mobile ads (which you can do on your website or in an app) knowing the demographics of your community can help you target advertisers for this offering, as with any ad offering. Communities with sizable Hispanic and Black populations might have an edge in this respect.

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Amy Gahran

Amy Gahran is a journalist, editor, trainer, entrepreneur, strategist, and media consultant based in Boulder, Colorado. In addition to writing
Read More

Events
Submit an event

Code/Media 2016 meets in California

February 17, 2016 - February 18, 2016

Code/Media will bring together the most influential minds in media and technology for two days of intimate gatherings and game-changing discussions in Laguna, Niguel, CA. Produced by senior editor Peter Kafka, in conjunction with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, this exclusive conference will get you up close and personal with media heavyweights and the tech innovators who want to get into the ring with them.

IRE Computer Assisted Reporting, March 10-13

March 10, 2016 - March 13, 2016

Join IRE and NICAR in Denver for the annual conference devoted to data journalism at the Denver Marriott City Center. 

SXSW Interactive Festival, March 11-15

March 11, 2016 - March 14, 2016

The 23rd annual SXSW Interactive Festival returns to Austin from Friday, March 11 through Tuesday, March 15.

Sunshine Week, March 13-19

March 13, 2016 - March 18, 2016

Join us in the annual nationwide celebration of access to public information and what it means for you and your community. Open government is good government.

The Collaboration Culture Symposium

March 21, 2016 - March 22, 2016

A new “collaboration culture” is emerging and collaboration is becoming the go-to strategy to make things work in the media industries. Join The Collaboration Culture Symposium at the Donald W.

ONA-Poynter present Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media

Mon, May 2, 2016 8:00 am

The interactive, five-day program for 28 U.S.-based participants will focus on critical leadership skills specific to digital media for the industry’s next generation of women leaders. The tuituion-free program will be held at Poynter’s campus in St. Petersburg, Florida.


Submit an event

Good, bad or even useful data? Help for sorting it all out

By Nancy Yoshihara
2/8/2016 | 11:11 am GMT

Dataproofer is a new, free tool designed to help journalists verify data.  The desktop app was developed by the news...

Amber is here to help you fight link rot and preserve content

By Nancy Yoshihara
1/30/2016 | 10:00 pm GMT

The new free software tool is designed to help bloggers and website owners prevent broken links by taking a snapshot...