Tablets Generate More Traffic and Potential Revenue

Judy Shalom

Software provider Adobe recently announced that after analyzing more than 100 billion visitors on over 1,000 different websites from all around the globe, their Adobe Digital Index recorded a significant shift in the way customers are accessing mobile content online. While many webmasters are finally starting to catch up to the fact that users are cutting the cord and leaving their desktop computers behind, astute business owners are already preparing for subsequent migrations like this one.

According to Adobe, tablets now represent 8 percent of the entire traffic market and smartphones rank behind at 7 percent. A year ago in January, Adobe also reported findings that tablet user sessions are 54 percent longer on average that smartphone sessions and 19 percent longer than desktop or laptop users’ sessions.

On the tablet side of the mobile market, major innovation is still happening with each new iteration of devices. Several competitors are making big leaps forward with much smaller, much lighter, much faster and much cheaper options for consumers.

Tablet traffic is also proving to be more valuable from an e-commerce and engagement perspective as well. To better understand why these moves make sense, let’s take a look at what is making mobile so popular in the first place.

Ease of Use

The most basic reason why traffic has chosen to move to mobile is also the most obvious. Taking a device out of your pocket or picking up from your bedroom night-table and immediately being online is so much easier than lugging a laptop around or making a trek to your desktop and waiting for it to boot up before browsing. As more programs become apps and storage is increasingly cloud based, mobile devices have become the easiest way for people to use digital services.

The drawbacks of smartphones come from their small screen size more than anything else, so on an ease of use basis, Tablets present all the benefits of mobile connectivity without the main drawback of their smaller cellular cousins.

Changes in the way mobile carriers design phone plans

The killer app that really pushed people from their desktops to handheld devices was the inclusion of cellphone service. The iPod Touch never had any hope of outselling the iPhone because people were in love with the idea of having their cellphone increase it’s capabilities but couldn’t even consider the thought of giving up their cellphone service to add a mobile device that lacked voice connectivity instead.

Now, trends are changing quickly and the carriers are trying to stay ahead of the curve. People are using less voice minutes than ever before and the number is falling dramatically each year. The rise of texting, mobile email, voice to text, Skype and other App services that obviate per minute calling plans is putting a serious dent in carrier billing. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, mobile data accounted for 37 percent of carriers’ $169.8 billion in wireless revenue last year, compared with 12 percent in 2006. As a result, AT&T has recently announced it will be switching all customers to unlimited minutes calling plans.

When phones supplied minutes and data differently, comparing them to tablets was more difficult. However, as all mobile devices will now be billed per bit in an agnostic way, across shared data plans that cover the consumer regardless of which device they use to log in — the growth of tablets as a preferred option makes much more sense.

Always on

The biggest gripe about traditional desktop computers was the fact that their cords tethered you to a desk and shut down any chance of taking your digital property with you on the go. Unless you were an exceptionally nerdy ‘power-gamer’ or a webmaster trying to make money online, years ago nobody was carrying a laptop around with them wherever they went. Smartphones changed that and made the concept of always being online a reality. Tablets came along saddled with expensive additional data plans, a fashion stigma similar to the one Bluetooth earpieces experienced, and issues with battery duration that made them a poor alternative to smartphones; especially in light of the fact that they could not be used as phones in place of a cellphone even if you wanted to use a tablet that way.

Now that the carriers are offering shared plans across all of your devices and have done away with per minute billing on phones to create a system whether data is what matters and how you use that data really does not, the price of having mobile connectivity on a tablet is minimal. Add in the proliferation of VOIP services like Skype and the lack of phone service isn’t all that important.

On top of all that, a number of providers from Amazon and Samsung to Apple and beyond are churning out tablets in so many sizes and styles that anyone can get one to fit their lifestyle.

Rapid acceleration of capabilities

When the iPhone revolutionized the way consumers viewed cellphones, the race was on among tech companies to build better, faster more fully functioned devices to gain market share.

In the past people ran out to the store for a much better resolution, substantially longer battery life, or speed from better processors and LTE access.

As sales have shown, adding a gimmick like a finger print scanner or a paired wristwatch is not enough to make most people want to trade in their existing smartphone.

On the tablet side of the mobile market, major innovation is still happening with each new iteration of devices. Several competitors are making big leaps forward with much smaller, much lighter, much faster and much cheaper options for consumers.

They are also offering a premium experience with services like the new Kindle Mayday live adviser from Amazon, major free software bundles from Apple and a lot of open source possibilities with Android tablets. Owning an iPad from a year ago and seriously wanting a newer one is a lot more likely, which means more market penetration as people opt to upgrade and pass down their tablets instead of trading in for a new phone that costs about the same amount of money.


From the first moment the public discovered the internet it has been increasingly clear that computing for most people is a social experience.

From MMORPG video games to AOL chat rooms back in the day, LAN parties and wildly popular social service apps like Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter and the rest — most people who use a computer want to do it with friends. The social aspects of mobile connectivity have made smartphones one of the most common personal accessories that anyone takes with them when leaving their home — largely replacing pens, wristwatches, wallets and cameras completely.

Tablets can accomplish similar in-person social tasks, but with a screen size that supports viewing by multiple people far easier.

Game developers are designing apps specifically for tablet use by multiple players, content providers are showing off higher quality content with larger screens and the proliferation of tablet cameras make the mutual webcam show experience hotter than it could ever be on a smaller screen.

For digital marketers, content producers, site owners and anyone else seeking to monetize internet traffic — your strategy needs to go far beyond saying: “Yeah, we have a mobile version of our websites.”

Offering a truly responsive design and optimizing your products to perform best on the tablets of today, or the future, is an important challenge companies will need to overcome to succeed at the highest level.