Nearly half of the UK’s top print media publications’ digital sites don’t display effectively on handheld devices


London, 4th June 2014 — Of the most popular print media publications in the United Kingdom, 45 per cent do not have a digital site that displays effectively on handheld devices despite the Ł2.26 billion expected to be spent on mobile advertising in 2014 – a 90 per cent increase from 2013. Although consumers can now access content from 55 per cent of the UK’s largest print media titles on their mobile phones – an improvement from 2013 when nearly seven out of ten (68 per cent) of these publishers did not have a site that displayed effectively on mobiles – the industry is still proving slow to adapt.

The data from the second annual Vibrant Media Mobile Advertising Readiness Survey (VMMARS), which evaluates how prepared the UK’s top print media publications are to monetise mobile traffic to their digital sites also shows that just one in five of the UK’s largest print media publications launched a new site that renders effectively on mobile screens in the past year.


Total Publishers 2013 68.0% 2014 45.0% Percentage increase 23.0%
Daily News 2013 40.0% 2014 20.0% Percentage increase 20.0%
General Weekly 2013 69.2% 2014 50.0% Percentage increase 19.2%
General Monthly 2013 73% 2014 48.9% Percentage increase 24.1%
Women’s Weekly 2013 77.6% 2014 60.7% Percentage increase 16.9%
Women’s Monthly 2013 62.5% 2014 46.4% Percentage increase 16.1%

Fiona Salmon, Publishing Solutions Director at Vibrant Media said, “There are three primary motivations for publishers to adopt a mobile site. Firstly, the revenue potential: publishers are seeing more traffic to their digital presences from handheld devices, but without an effective site or mobile responsive ad formats, they’re missing out on the revenue. Secondly, fear of Google’s algorithm changes: it’s predicted that Google will punish publishers in search engine results if their sites don’t perform on mobiles. Finally, consumer perception: publishers without a site that displays effectively on mobiles just frustrate consumers, who expect a good mobile experience. That impacts how the consumer feels about the media title’s entire brand, impacting the perception of the print and desktop experience too.”

Over the last year, General Monthly magazines – covering primarily the men’s sectors and specialist interests such as gadgets and tech – have adopted mobile sites most quickly of all the categories. A quarter of these titles created a new mobile optimised digital site within the last year. The Women’s Weekly magazines are proving the slowest to move to mobile. Starting from the low base of just 22.4 per cent of titles in 2013 having a site that renders effectively for mobile just 16.9 per cent of Women’s Weekly titles adopted a new mobile site in the last year.

Fiona Salmon, Publisher Solutions Director at Vibrant Media said, “The publishers still relying on websites developed for desktop users to serve their mobile consumers are costing themselves money as well as their relationship with their consumers. Desktop-focused websites often render so badly on handheld screens they can make the ads redundant. Serving ineffective ads on mobile devices limits publishers’ opportunity to earn revenue to support editorial. However, a separate, fully optimised mobile site is not an absolute necessity to deliver effective mobile ads if publishers use the right technology. Publishers just need to adopt very nimble native ad formats that work with the small format display, that respect the consumer, respond to the consumer’s device and enhance rather than compromise the consumer’s experience.”

Vibrant Media’s cross-platform suite of ad units are natively placed within text and image content. They perform on handheld devices whether the publisher has a mobile optimised site or not. No matter if the consumer is browsing content on a tablet, a smartphone or a desktop device, once they choose to initiate a Vibrant Media native ad, Vibrant’s technology automatically displays the commercial content in the optimum format for the consumer’s device. This delivers creatively consistent campaigns whilst also enabling consumers to control the brand experiences with the gestures they expect of their digital devices, whether screen rotations, finger-swipes and taps or mouse clicks and scrolls on desktops.

According to the Association of Online Publisher’s Digital Landscape Report from February 2014, when brands were asked about the most serious issues their customers encounter when interacting with their brand via a mobile device, the top concerns were bad navigation and screen size problems.

Daily News

Eight out of ten daily news media titles are successfully mobile optimised

One in four daily news publishers launched a new mobile site in the last year and now 80 per cent of the top Daily News print publishers offer an effective mobile experience for their consumers and advertisers. Fiona Salmon said, “This is incredible progress for the Daily News category, yet ideally 100 per cent of all Daily News sources should be mobile optimised. The content and frequency of updates mean Daily News titles are a key mobile destination for consumers. Dailies’ digital sites need to be formatted to mobile’s smaller viewing space so that readers can explore the latest news whether taking the train, queuing for coffee or second screening at home. Data from eMarketer indicates that unique visitors to newspaper sites from mobiles jumped 39 per cent in 2013, increasing the number of newspaper page views by 63 per cent.”

“Some news publications are still focusing on content apps. There are benefits to this approach – such as encouraging app users to pay for content. However eMarketer’s stats show a strong correlation between the increase in visits to news sites and consumers’ use of social media on mobile devices. Functionally, the social media operators want consumers to stay in their app environment rather than open a publishers’ app. Consumers also do not want to down load an app for casual news browsing. Publishers solely focusing on an app strategy for mobile content distribution will alienate a vast number of potential news consumers and miss out on ad views.”

Women’s Weeklies

Women’s Weeklies the slowest category to offer effective mobile sites

The Women’s Weeklies category has proven slowest to adopt digital sites that render effectively for mobile for the second year in a row. Although nearly 17 per cent successfully created a digital site for mobile in the last year, an overwhelming majority – two out of three Women’s Weekly publications – are still lagging behind.

Fiona Salmon said, “Women on the move cannot effectively consume most of the biggest female-focussed publications in the UK via their mobile device. Women’s magazines often have a wealth of high quality editorial images, which are one of the most valuable elements of a publisher’s inventory, and a huge driver for mobile use. With such rich and attractive content to display, it’s crucial that they render properly on handheld devices. Without a digital site that displays effectively on handheld screens, such publishers are not placed to capitalise on the mobile ad revenue opportunity such traffic offers. These publishers may not feel that mobile ads will be effective for them, but that’s because they’re not deploying ad formats which take into account the very different priorities of mobile browsers. Consumers don’t want mobile ads that get in the way of immediate access to quality content on the move. On the small screen of mobile devices, consumers want to be empowered to initiate ads on their own terms, at a time of their choosing. Publishers must use ad formats which respect the consumer and respond to the consumer’s device.”

Women’s Monthlies

Over 53.6 per cent of Women’s Monthlies have a fully optimised mobile site

Just over half of women’s monthly titles have digital sites which render effectively on handheld devices. Fiona Salmon said, “As they only release a new issue twelve times a year women’s monthlies perhaps have a greater concern with keeping their readership loyal. Offering content through mobile sites maintains consumers’ relationship with the media title between issues, and is an invaluable resource to readers as most women do not collect and keep an archive of their monthly magazines. It’s essential that Women’s Monthly magazines have active mobile sites so consumers can easily search for features in previous months issues. For example many Women’s Monthly consumers will want to consult fashion and shopping advice articles when in retail outlets. Such page views are extremely valuable to advertisers.”

General Weekly

Almost one in five General Weekly magazines adopted a mobile optimised site in 2013

The General Weekly category – often featuring entertainment updates for TV and radio programs – saw almost one in five of its media titles (19.2 per cent) adopt a mobile optimised site in the last year. Now half of the titles in this category have a site that renders effectively on mobile, including What’s On TV, which boasts the highest readership for the General Weekly category.

Fiona Salmon said, “General Weekly magazines often help news consumers plan their week according to upcoming events. As many of these titles are listings magazines, a mobile site can reaffirm details such as the time of a TV show premiere or when a special radio program will air – even if they are out and about. A fully functioning mobile site will encourage consumers to consult the General Weekly media titles more often than they would if just given the print option. Each mobile page view is a revenue opportunity for these titles.”

General Monthlies

The General Monthlies category shows the fastest rate of mobile site adoption

Although to have one of the lowest proportion of mobile optimised sites in the VMMARS Report, General monthly titles – serving the mens’ sectors and specialist interests including some of the most well known technology and gadget websites –saw the fastest rate of new mobile site adoption. Over the last year, 24.1 per cent of these publishers created a new digital site which renders effectively on mobile screens.

Vibrant’s Fiona Salmon said, “The General Monthlies category includes specialist high-quality content with a very high value to the right advertiser. These magazines are demonstrating the greatest innovation in transforming consumers’ connections to content. Many offer premium digital audio, video and image content through their websites and consumers want to engage with this rich media content on mobile – and publishers should be monetising it more effectively. It is essential that these publications display their content in a manner which complements the user’s device. Requiring users to zoom in and adjust the screen size distorts content delivery.”

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Vibrant assessed at the top print media publications by circulation according to the National Readership Survey 2013. Vibrant used an iPhone 4 to ascertain whether publications were providing mobile sites that display effectively. Effective display was taken to mean fully legible and usable to the average users’ eye.

About Vibrant
Vibrant Media ( connects consumers in real time with engaging content and brand experiences cross-platform. Delivered directly off of words, images & video within a premium native environment, Vibrant’s solutions are designed to be viewable, relevant and engaging. With over 6,600 premium publishers, reaching more than 300 million unique users per month (comScore 2014), Vibrant delivers native advertising at scale. Vibrant works with top advertisers such as Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, P&G, Sainsbury’s and Unilever. The company was founded in 2000 and has offices in New York, San Francisco, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta, London, Hamburg, Munich and Dusseldorf. For more information about Vibrant, please visit or or Vibrant’s blog with insights on the digital marketing industry can be found at

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