Nearly half of all YouTube traffic now comes from people accessing its content from mobile devices, Google revealed in its Friday earnings report. This is 15 percent higher than the mobile traffic seen in 2012 and 34% higher than the extremely low 6% of 2011.
As a whole, shifting the majority of views from desktop to mobile devices could force Google to rethink its advertising structure on YouTube. Not only are there far less ads that can be displayed per video page but advertisers seem to be less interested in paying a high rate when most of their ads are being seen on mobile devices.
Most social networks and services are now becoming primarily mobile-based, and YouTube simply joins Facebook and Twitter as the most recent application to attain a largely mobile user base. Google has been investing a lot of its time and money into creating an appealing mobile experience for YouTube, suggesting that it would like to see an even larger percentage of its audience watch videos from a tablet or smartphone.
The YouTube apps for Android and iOS have become popular once again since Google revamped both in an attempt to provide a better experience than what could be found on third-party apps. Even with numerous updates, the main YouTube app for iOS has not been well received but in the end, views and revenue from third-party apps still help Google.
Personally, I find that using YouTube on my mobile devices is more enjoyable than accessing the desktop site. That being said, I can also see where some advertisers would be unhappy with the changes.
YouTube and hordes of other services that have become popular on mobile devices are struggling to find new ways to attain revenue from mobile traffic. With very few ways to advertise on a small screen, YouTube will likely have to innovate and lead the charge to monetize mobile traffic.