OnSwipe: Tablet Use Meteoric for Partner Moguldom's African-American Audiences


We are used to seeing triple-digit growth rates associated with mobile and tablet traffic increases over the last year or so. But slice the demographics even more finely and you start seeing some serious quadruple increases. To wit: Moguldom Media, which publishes Madame Noir, StyleBlazer, Bossip and HipHopWired brands online, says it has seen tablet access to its sites grow 6000% between November 2011 and June 2012. In fact, fashion site StyleBlazer is seeing 3.5 million page views (June 2012) now coming to its site just from iPads each month, approaching 10% of its 48 million monthly impressions.

The platform Moguldom uses to publish tablet-specific Web output is the hot New York startup OnSwipe, which typically has been seeing rates of tablet traffic growth between 300% and 800%. But the Moguldom sites and the explosion of use in this demographic segment is on another level. HipHopWorld has seen an increase of 1,069% in page views and 1,160% in uniques from tablets since November, MadameNoire.com has seen a 669% page-view increase and about the same growth in visitors. “The African American audiences are the most engaged,” says OnSwipe founder Jason Baptiste.  

Moguldom Media Group Chairman and CEO Jamarlin Martin says that the rapid adoption of tablets and strong usage patterns among African American audiences extends the trends already evident in smartphone use. "It is a known trend that African-American demographic has proven to be the early adopters of mobile, and have a strong appetite to share and consume multimedia content on a mobile device," he tells Mobile Marketing Daily. "The African-American demographic is known to adopt technologies that are inherently social and improve the efficiency of life day to day."

Citing Nielsen, Martin says that African-American mobile device users have a higher-than-average use of mobile for emailing, accessing the Internet and engaging social network sites. "With a tablet device, there is a larger screen, an improved user experience for most completed mobile activities and makes the content easily accessible," he says.

OnSwipe started over a year ago offering publishers a way to reformat their Web content in ways that were touch-friendly and more attractive on tablets. In the beginning, they offered a series of templates to early partners like Ziff Davis and Bonnier. In the past year they have introduced a tool set that gives publishers like Moguldom greater control of the layout and look and feel.

According to Baptiste, designing Web sites specifically for tablets has a dramatic effect on their use. “We call it  the ‘Angry Birds effect,’” says Baptiste. “People love to swipe and love to interact if you make the content into something they enjoy interacting with.” He says that his network of over 200 premium publishers and thousands of small sites and bloggers using OnSwipe now generate over 150 million “touches” a month. Page views have grown over 344% since January, and uniques are up 300%.

While a great deal of attention is being paid to responsive design, where the same content pours into any screen size, Baptiste calls that approach a bit “lazy.” “Every screen deserves its own touch experience,” he argues.

OnSwipe is starting to ramp up an ad sales program for later this year and into 2013. In its first stages the company allowed the publishers to handle their own ad sales into the tablet. But Baptiste says demand for tablet advertising is increasing quickly, and his platform -- which controls the user experience -- is in a position o deliver unique ad formats and experiences. They have already developed an interstitial ad unit that resembles a hi-res full-page magazine ad, dubbed “Glossies.”

While many publishers still dote over perfecting their app strategy, Baptiste says his company is glad that it placed its bets on optimizing for the tablet-based Web. “People use tablets most to browse. Publishers’ scale comes through search and sharing and going to links in emails, and that is still true on the tablet.” When he goes into meetings with publishers, talk about apps just doesn’t come up as much anymore.

In the end, the secret sauce of the Post-PC age is not merely portability. “It isn’t about mobile,” he says. “It is about touch.” 

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