Don’t ignore potential of mobile web, NPR advises

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Apps for tablets and smartphones may get buzz, but public media stations have a growing opportunity to reach audiences not just with apps, but via web pages optimized for mobile devices. Traffic to station websites from mobile devices has grown from 9 percent last July to 14 percent in March, according to Steve Mulder and Keith Hopper of NPR Digital Services. And while both usage of NPR apps and visits to NPR’s mobile site have grown, the latter has outpaced app usage in growth over the past two years. NPR now has twice as many mobile web users as mobile app users.

“Your app is great for people who already love you,” Mulder and Hopper write. “But your mobile site is the best way to help everyone else discover you.”

The growing use of mobile-optimized sites may be due to traffic from social media, searches and email, all of which guide mobile users to websites. “For NPR stations, 11% of mobile site visits are now coming from Facebook,” write Mulder and Hopper. “That’s up from 8% last July, and will continue to grow. … Do not underestimate the power of Facebook in exposing users to your content and sending users to your site.”