comScore: Smartphones, tablets add significant traffic during March Madness

Smartphones and tablets accounted for a fifth of all web traffic related to the 2012 NCAA Tournament during the first round last week, according to comScore.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

March Madness fans are heading to smartphones and tablets for constant coverage more than ever before, based on a new report from comScore.

For starters, all "non-computer" traffic (which is specified as mainly mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets) accounted for a fifth of all web traffic related to the 2012 NCAA Tournament during the first round last week.

When you compare how well sports-related traffic did last week compared to the previous three weeks, the upticks are quite staggering, as seen in the chart below. But on both Thursday and Friday, the increase in traffic on smartphones and tablets was considerably more than what was seen on computers, with tablets even seeing an increase in traffic for all other online content besides sports.

ComScore senior director Debbie Bradley explained in the report that smartphone and tablet traffic points to how the devices fulfill a particular void on the part of the users:

While all-encompassing media events like the NCAA Tournament might eat into the content people typically consume, it actually appears that most usage is incremental content consumption. When the content is highly time-sensitive – such as with news or sports scores – there’s a greater likelihood of it being consumed on-the-go via mobile devices.

Bradley also pointed out that "the NCAA Tournament, like the Super Bowl or the Olympics, is one of those events where sports fans don’t want to miss a beat of the action – especially if they can’t be in front of a TV."

Thus, we can likely expect to see mobile device coverage play an even bigger role during events later this year such as the Summer Olympics. To think that during the last Olympic Games (the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver), the first iPad had only been announced, before the explosion of the tablet market that we've seen in the last year.

There's so much more room for opportunity now for mobile advertisers and developers, not to mention the networks and organizations surrounding these major sporting events as well.

Chart via comScore


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