The proliferation of the internet into every aspect of our lives has made it easier than ever for people to stay connected, but the ever-growing assortment of devices poses a challenge to businesses that want to stay up to date.
At FinanceAsia, we know that only too well. When we first launched our website back in 2000 (check out our 10th anniversary mini-site here), pretty much all of our visitors were using a Windows computer running either Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser or one of its rivals. Creating an online presence in those days was easy because a single website would display perfectly for almost every visitor to the site.
The popularity of smartphones and tablet computers has changed all that, presenting both a challenge and an opportunity for online content providers. On the upside, we can now push content to readers wherever they are, which clearly increases the potential audience. On the downside, the extra effort required to attract visitors using mobile devices is reasonably significant — yet mobile visitors are still hugely outnumbered by those using regular computers and laptops.
Even so, our experience suggests that the extra effort is worth it. In June this year, we launched an iPad app and a mobile website, and have seen our mobile audience more than double as a result.
A year ago, less than 5% of online readers were using a mobile device, compared to slightly more than 10% last month. Around half of our mobile visitors use either an iPhone or an iPad, split fairly evenly between the two. Most of the rest are either Blackberries or Android devices.
During the past year, our online audience has grown by about 8% with the addition of the new mobile platforms. We have also taken to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and have even launched a Chinese-language website that is now adding another 5,000 page visits a month to our online audience — and continues to gain popularity among readers in the mainland.
In a year when deal flow has slowed, this ability to tap new audiences has helped us to continue to grow. While we expect another challenging year ahead, we hope to continue to reach out to an even bigger audience. Just this week, we announced the hire of Nick Lord to help us build our readership in Europe and the US, where there is increasing demand for news and analysis from the world’s fastest-growing region.
If you haven’t already tried out our iPad app, please check out the iTunes store to download it for free.