Web traffic measurement company Quantcast is pitching a free new feature that allows clients to see how much of their Internet traffic is coming from browser-equipped mobile devices.
As part of the mobile traffic feature, Quantcast has created new mobile web rankings, informing readers of a press release, "The results might surprise you."
Well, they do, but there's a good explanation.
First, here's the list of websites visited most by people in the United States over the past month using a mobile web browser (so visits from mobile web apps don't count):
1. answers.com (8.19 million unique monthly visitors)
2. wordpress.com (5.69 million)
3. tumblr.com (5.25 million)
4. metrolyrics.com (2.87 million)
5. foxnews.com (traffic data hidden; what are you trying to hide, Fox News?)
6. linkedin.com (2.61 million)
7. whitepages.com (2.52 million)
8. wikia.com (2.50 million)
9. hubpages.com (2.33 million)
10. go.com (2.03 million)
Where are Google, Facebook and YouTube? Why are they being shunned by mobile surfers? They're not. Quantcast's mobile web rankings only count sites that are clients, or that are "Quantified."
For its overall rankings, Quantcast uses a combination of 1) verified data from "Quantified" clients who tag their sites with tracking code and 2) estimated traffic for non-clients. Here's the top 10:
1. Google (161.67 million unique monthly visitors)
2. Facebook (148.47 million)
3. YouTube (143.07 million)
4. Yahoo (93.99 million)
5. Amazon.com (92.37 million)
6. Twitter (87.37 million)
7. MSN.com (77.98 million)
8. Wikipedia (72.65 million)
9. eBay (64.03 million)
10. Microsoft (60.76 million)
Answers.com, which tops Quantcast's mobile web rankings, comes in No. 17 overall with a total of 51.97 million monthly unique visitors. In fact, two other "Quantified" sites -- wordpress.com (56.27 million, No. 13) and The Huffington Post (54.95 million, No. 14) -- have more overall traffic, but less mobile traffic.
Over the past month, 15.8% of Answers.com unique visitors came from mobile devices using web browsers. That's double the overall percentage of mobile web browsing (7.67%) as measured recently by analytics firm Net Applications.
It's understandable that an "answer" site might be popular among web surfers out and about using mobile devices. In contrast, a content-heavy site such as The Huffington Post is a less enticing destination for mobile web browsers. Only 1.3% of its traffic (741,294) in the past month came from mobile browsers, placing HuffPost at No. 48 in Quantcast's mobile web rankings.
The site with the largest percentage of mobile unique visitors over the past month (at least that I could find) appears to be Metrolyrics, which had 13.1 million visits overall (ranking it No. 76) and 2.87 million mobile hits, or 21.9%. Makes sense; you never know when you'll have to break into song in public, so it pays to be prepared.