Newsflash: YouTube Is Almost a Mobile-First Website

you tubeIt seems that every week or so there is another article making its rounds on the web about the importance of mobile for advertisers and businesses. Those stories aren’t going away any time soon, and that’s a good thing. It’s important to stay alert to the progress of mobile since the market is, after all, breaking new ground day by day. Today we’ve learned that YouTube is well on its way to being a mobile first endeavor.

How Close is YouTube to Mobile First?

In some news stories that are sure to surprise many users who frequent YouTube, Google’s numbers show that the way YouTubers are accessing the site is changing, and fast. As Joshn Constine writes on the (newly redesigned) TechCrunch, YouTube “is quickly going mobile, with [mobile] making up 40% of its traffic now compared to 25% last year.”

To go from 25% to 40% of traffic in one year is an impressive change. YouTube has been actively improving its mobile experience, and it appears that their efforts are working and working well. If you go back to 2011, the change is even more impressive. Two years ago, mobile made up only 6% of YouTube’s traffic. That’s a jump greater than 500% in 2 years!

Is Mobile Traffic Paying Off for YouTube?

Even though the numbers look great for fans of mobile, the increase isn’t necessarily making YouTube (and Google) more money. Peter Kafka reports on All Things D that, for YouTube, “mobile also means less ad money,” which is a common problem for businesses and advertisers as they try to learn the best way to deliver mobile advertising.

For YouTube, part of the problem is that all of the mobile ads are in a TrueView mode, which means that mobile users can disable them. Of course, this is only a problem for generating ad revenue and not for growing YouTube’s mobile users. It will be worthwhile to pay attention to the next change in YouTube’s mobile advertising system to see if they make a shift towards earning money and not providing skippable ads.

Importance of Mobile Appears Again

There’s no denying the fact that mobile access is growing in every corner of the web. There’s no reason why this pattern of rapid growth will slow down in the near future either. Eventually it will, and by then the companies, agencies, and businesses that jump into mobile early will have a big advantage over those that don’t.

As mobile continues to gain ground, the way that agencies and businesses interact with consumers will change. In some ways the changes will be subtle, but in others they will be drastic. The numbers from YouTube and other major portals on the web over the next year will tell the tale as to how fast the change to mobile will continue in the coming years.

Does your business or agency have a strategy for mobile?

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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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