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Mobile Web monthly unique visitors grow 45pc year-over-year: Guardian

British publisher Guardian News and Media?s mobile traffic reached an all-time high in February, due in large part to the launch of a responsive site late last year.

The numbers come from the Audit Bureau of Circulations? February online certification. The Guardian has a variety of mobile tools, including Web and applications for iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire and BlackBerry devices.

?One thing that has proven to be especially fascinating is the fact that half of our mobile users are connected to Wi-Fi, which proves that there is just as strong a case for on the couch as there is for on the move,? said Tanya Cordrey, chief digital officer at the Guardian, London.

?A larger proportion of users access our main news and sport sections on mobile,? she said. ?This is because they tend to use their mobiles to access breaking headlines or news, whilst they use our desktop site for more exploratory browsing.?

Mobile growth
The ABC audit was conducted from Feb. 1 ? 28 and looks at traffic across the Guardian?s iPhone application, mobile site and PC site.

According to ABC?s findings, the Guardian?s mobile site brought in 17.2 million monthly unique visitors in February. This is a 44.7 percent year-over-year and 7.9 percent month-over-month increase.

The daily mobile unique visitors totaled more than 990,000.

Previously, the highest number of monthly mobile unique visitors that the Guardian had was 17 million in April 2012.

ABC also looked at traffic to the Guardian?s iPhone apps in February and split the numbers into two groups of visitors by Britain and the United States.

Numbers from the Guardian?s Android, BlackBerry and iPad apps are not included in the findings.

The Guardian racked up 167,000 unique monthly iPhone app visitors in Britain for the month of February. In the U.S., unique monthly visitors to the Guardian?s iPhone app totaled more than 36,000.

?At the Guardian we know that individuals who use our apps are a different user base entirely,? Ms. Cordrey said.

?They are loyal Guardian readers and their patterns of usage reflect this difference, with a much higher proportion of page views per visit,? she said. ?On the Web we have many more users coming from Google and social sites, who are less likely to browse the site for long periods.?

The Guardian also saw traffic to its Web site spike in February.

The Guardian brought in more than 4.5 million average daily unique visitors in February, per ABC?s audit. The traffic represents a 28 percent year-over-year and 6 percent month-over-month increase.

February marked the second-highest month of monthly unique Web visitors for the Guardian with 77.4 million monthly unique visitors. The highest number of monthly unique visitors totaled 77.9 million in January.

Read on mobile
The Guardian has been building up its mobile presence over the past couple of years.

In November, the publisher rolled out a responsive Web site. With mobile Web representing 18 percent of traffic at the time, the goal of the new design was to create a seamless reading experience across all screens (see story).

Additionally, in October 2011 the Guardian launched an iPad app that mimicked the design of a newspaper (see story).

?The proportion of individuals accessing our content and journalism via mobile will continue to grow, as will tablet usage and everything in between,? Ms. Cordrey said.

?Our priority as a digital-first news organization is to ensure that we have the same quality content across any device ? desktop or mobile ? to allow our users to access it from anywhere they please,? she said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York