Digiday Research: Mobile commerce shows promise for publishers

This research is based on unique data collected from our proprietary audience of publisher, agency, brand and tech insiders. It’s available to Digiday+ members. More from the series →

Monetizing mobile traffic at the same clip as desktop has long been a challenge for publishers, and as mobile continues to eat desktop the dilemma has become increasingly pronounced. But one area that’s showing some promise for mobile monetization could be commerce.

Although U.S. consumers typically spend more on desktop computers than mobile devices, 73 percent of publisher executives surveyed by Digiday say at least at least 25 percent of their commerce revenues now come from mobile devices. Given that many publishers have just begun to build their commerce operations, a willingness by consumers to transact with publishers’ sites from mobile devices could be a promising indicator for their commerce ambitions.

The growing openness by consumers to make mobile purchases also shows promise for publishers who operate affiliate businesses. For publishers to earn affiliate revenue they typically need to be the last point of contact before a consumer makes a purchase. As consumers show a growing propensity to transact on mobile — instead of simply researching there and transacting later on desktop — that could lead to a boost in overall affiliate revenues. Earlier research of publishers that operate a commerce business found that the majority of their commerce revenue came from affiliate fees rather than sales of branded products.

Commerce revenue is a growing component in part of a larger publisher trend toward revenue diversification. Forty-three percent of publishers claim commerce revenues and several C-level publisher executives believe commerce presents the greatest business opportunity in 2018.

The potential for publishers to increase commerce revenues while boosting the share driven by mobile could be dependent on Amazon. Amazon dominates many publishers affiliate businesses and some publishers sell products directly on Amazon. The e-commerce giant also accounts for nearly half of all dollars spent online. If Amazon can continue to increase its mobile purchases then publishers revenue from mobile devices will almost certainly rise as a result.



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