Media Relations in the Age of the Mobile Device — The Numbers Game

Come Sunday, this is my Instagram feed: hot cups of tea and the weekend papers fanned out on tables and beds.

My reality, more often than not, goes something like this: hot cups of tea and clicking on interesting headlines I see on Facebook, Twitter and news sites. Much less instagrammable, I know.

At a recent event hosted by the Public Relations Society of America, journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post and Al Jazeera America shared some data on how mobile devices are critical traffic drivers for them.*

  • The Washington Post
    • In October 2015, 51 million visitors out of a total of 66 million visited the Post’s site through their phones or Kindles.
    • Millennials make up 40 percent of the site’s mobile visitors.
    • In descending order, these sites are leading people to the Post’s stories: Facebook, Google Search, other websites and the Washington Post website.
    • Twitter is not a big driver for health news and medicine stories for the Post. Facebook reigns supreme for this beat.
  • The New York Times
    • The Times recently had a watershed moment when its data team reported that their home page traffic was down by 50 percent. People were coming in “sideways,” i.e., from other sources directly to the story, and altogether bypassing the home page.
    • Approximately 20 to 30 percent of The Times’ traffic comes directly from people going to the home page.
  • Al Jazeera America
    • The channel still gets about 60 percent of its traffic from desktops, and 40 percent from mobile devices.
    • Gender and race stories receive the most traffic on Al Jazeera America’s social sites.
    • Facebook can be a big driver for stories.

What do these numbers mean for us as publicists?

It shows us that mobile devices and social platforms are big traffic drivers for news outlets. And they can get more eyeballs than ever before to our clients’ causes. By learning more about the audiences on different platforms and the topics that work for each platform, we can work smarter, be a better resource for reporters, and better position and advise our clients.

*All numbers were mentioned by reporters at the event and not independently verified by Vanguard.