Google has announced that for the first time ever more people are using mobile as a way to read the news and services such as Facebook and Twitter. This is putting dedicated blogs and news websites in a very difficult position as they are unable to properly monetize their platforms.
Online advertising revenues are falling as smartphone users, who spend half of the time on their devices reading news, become increasingly frustrated by advertisements and so-called sponsored content. Gigaom was a victim of this, as their Google Adsense revenue fell so dramatically they begun to write more sponsored content on a daily basis, which wasn’t enough to stem the loses. The company went out of business and fired their entire writing staff.
Four in 10 smartphone customers use Facebook to find, read, watch, share and comment on the news each week – more than twice the usage of its nearest rival, Youtube, and almost four times that of Twitter. Speaking of Twitter, the company announced Project Lightning, a news platform that would allow users to follow events instead of people.
Good e-Reader has seen their traffic decrease by 30% in the last year as less people read the publication on their PC or the mobile edition. Instead people have gravitated towards news aggregators such as Buzzfeed, Flipboard, Digg or Linkedin Pulse. In other cases they follow the social media accounts, such as Facebook or Twitter, only clicking on stories that specifically interest them.
The big tech news sites are also not immune to readers shifting their consumption habits. All Things D spun their company into a new one called RE/CODE. They were unable to make it financially work and had to sell their company to Vox Media, the same guys who own The Verge.
Indie news agencies and dedicated blogs are finding it hard to monetize their sites now that smartphone usage is so pronounced. Additionally it does not help the fact that many users are employing Ad Blocker software which further decreases revenue.