Verve Wireless Charts Local Media Trends on Mobile Devices

[Corrected 6/27/11 8:25 pm. See Below] When I profiled Verve Wireless almost nine months ago, the Encinitas, CA-based startup was providing its web-based technology for some 750 newspaper publishers and broadcast stations throughout the United States.

Today, more than 1,200 local newspapers and broadcasters use Verve’s platform to publish their content and serve ads to a variety of mobile users, including iOS, BlackBerry, and Android-based devices, according to Verve marketing vice president Greg Hallinan. That’s a lot of traffic, which led Verve to issue its first quarterly “Local Mobile Index” report today. Hallinan says it provides some unique insights into how mobile users are interacting with local media.

For example, Hallinan says the heaviest days for local media consumption on mobile devices fall on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays (Wednesday is the biggest day). That’s in sharp contrast to conventional newspapers, which attract their biggest chunk of readers on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays (Sunday is the biggest day). On a daily basis, the peak hours for mobile consumption are during the morning and evening commute, but Hallinan says the biggest block of mobile media consumption occurs during prime time, when he speculates that users are multi-tasking with their mobile devices while watching TV.

Verve says its local mobile index only measures how much small and medium businesses are spending on advertising within their respective markets. It does not include what national advertisers are spending in local markets, which Verve instead classifies as national advertising.

Some other findings from Verve:

—The single biggest category was automotive, which accounted for 28 percent of the spending on mobile advertisements.

—St. Louis was the leading metro area for local ad campaigns

—[Corrects the reference to how well ads work] While the iPhone has more traffic than Android devices (more than twice as much, according to Hallinan), display ads on Android devices perform 52 percent better than they do on iOS devices. Performance is defined as interacting with the ads.

Hallinan says Verve’s data also shows an 82 percent increase in local ad spending for mobile devices, as measured year-over-year for the same media sites (akin to same-store sales). “In some respects,” Hallinan says, ” ‘Main St.’ is moving faster than ‘Madison Ave.’ into mobile advertising.”

Verve also has been in fast-growth mode, hiring suburban Washington D.C.-based Tom MacIssac as CEO in January (so the company says it is now based in the San Diego and Washington D.C. areas), buying Deconstruct Media in February, and raising $3.5 million from investors in April. “We’re now at 45 employees,” Hallinan says, “and we just opened a New York office and hired six full-time national ad sales reps.”

Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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