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March Madness drives web traffic on tablets

by David Needle

March 24 2012

With the annual NCAA college basketball tournament, best known as March Madness, underway early reports as to how fans are following the action online show a big uptick in mobile device use.

Actually, a study by comScore shows the page views in its Sports content category increased dramatically across all three primary screens used for web access -- computer, tablet and smartphones during the first 32 games of the tournament. 

comScore analyzed computer vs. non-computer traffic (predominantly smartphones and tablets) for the Thursday and Friday of the NCAA tournament compared to the average of the three previous Thursdays and Fridays. The results showed that nearly double the percentage of Sports category content was consumed on non-computer devices (smartphones and tablets) as other content categories.

For all time periods studied, the percentage of Sports category traffic coming from non-computer devices was approximately 20% while other categories had approximately 10% of traffic coming from these devices. Friday, March 16, the second day of tournament action, saw non-computer Sports category traffic peak at 22.1%.

“As media formats continue to evolve, we’re rapidly seeing America’s national college basketball obsession increasingly bleed over to other screens like smartphones and tablets,” said comScore’s senior director Debbie Bradley. “Given the emphasis large advertisers place on these events, it’s important to consider how other media channels can be leveraged to maximize a brand’s awareness and its communication with the consumer.”

During the first day of the opening round of games on Thursday, March 15, comScore reports that total sports-related traffic jumped 79% compared to the average of the three previous Thursdays. In comparison, total traffic to all other web content declined 2%. comScore reports that the most significant gain in sports content consumption occurred via tablet at 94%, while smartphone activity jumped 83% and computer traffic jumped 77%.

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