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Business news site Forbes has seen mobile traffic more than double over the past year, which chief product officer Lewis D’Vorkin puts down to an increase in social sharing.

Talking to new media age, he said mobile now accounts for 28% of all traffic, up from just 10% last year, and of that 70% comes from smartphones, while the remaining 30% is via tablet devices.

D’Vorkin reckons this is down to a major increase in social traffic which now accounts for 25% of all traffic, up from just 1% two and a half years ago when he joined the business.

Search still accounts for the largest chunk of audience traffic at 30%, while 20% go directly to the home page.

Although portals still account for some traffic this figure is down 70% compared to two and a half years ago, much of which has been taken up by social.

D’Vorkin said, “There is a more healthy distribution of traffic now. It’s much more direct. I can see traffic from portals continuing to go down as companies like AOL and Yahoo become content creators in their own right.”

Forbes unveiled its redesigned home page earlier this year, which capped off two years of updates to the rest of the site, where social interaction and community now play an integral role (nma.co.uk 13 July 2012).

The site now has 37.5m monthly visitors worldwide, up from 30m in July.

Forbes on mobile.

Forbes is set to continue its social push by updating its forums offering with additional features including the ability to share comments to the wider social stream before the end of the year.

The publisher also now uses social data to inform future editorial content. Forbes tracks which stories are being retweeted on Twitter, for example, the number of which has doubled over the past two years.

As a result of looking at what is being shared, D’Vorkin said it became apparent that pharmaceutical and medical content was being shared a lot, particularly on LinkedIn, and traffic in general was doing very well.

There used to be just one staff reporter covering the beat but since analysing the data and discovering how popular this content is Forbes has taken on 15 additional contributors to expand this area.

Meanwhile, Forbes is also due to launch an iPad magazine towards the end of December, which will have a social layer incorporated. The app will include video, links to the main site and sharable stories.

It is also looking to introduce swipeable pages and galleries on smartphones before the end of the year, which D’Vorkin said will “provide a better experience on the device, enabling more engagement, which will allow readers to view more. It will also allow us to increase revenues as we can have an ad on each page.”

He added, “The mobile space is not monetised well yet. It needs to get better. When more than 28% of our audience are [viewing content] on mobile we need to be able to monetise it. It’s a challenge for everyone from media companies, to agencies to clients.”

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Published 23 November, 2012 by NMA Staff

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