Social platform Taringa! has had a quite impressive run. Out of Argentina, the company has expanded its presence to 18 countries in Latin America as well as Spain and the United States, and it closed out 2013 with even better news. According to comScore, Taringa! was Argentina’s second most popular social network as of October, trailing Facebook in terms of traffic but ahead of both Twitter and LinkedIn.
The comScore announcement topped off a big year for Taringa!, during which it also expanded to Mexico, experienced record advertising numbers, made major content improvements and brought on new talent. It has also made strides in addressing copyright issues and related ongoing litigation.
As is the case with most internet companies today, mobile is a major priority for Taringa! moving ahead – especially given the notable increase in mobile traffic it experienced over the past year. In the context of the Mobile World Congress, Damián Molina, CRO and Commercial Director at Taringa!, evaluated the mobile landscape that is currently at the center of the company’s strategy.
Clarisa Herrera: Mobile is the big issue in the industry right now. How are you focusing the business in that direction?
Damián Molina: We are working on a native application, but we want to give it the necessary amount of time and dedication. We don’t want it to be simple. First the Android application will come, because the operating system represents 70% of our mobile traffic. Part of being at the Mobile World Congress has to do with evaluating associations and partnerships that could help us and getting up to speed on trends. Mobile is, definitively, our focus. What happened with WhatsApp and Facebook has, to a certain extent, marked the way. Mobile is at the center of everything today, much more important than the web. It’s like what happened with news, which is read much more online than on paper. Today, web users are shifting to mobile.
CH: You launched your mobile version in the middle of last year. How has traffic evolved?
DM: When we noticed the trend, we launched a mobile-responsive version in July 2013. Taringa! users were demanding a mobile version, and the growth we registered afterwards was surprising. Just days after its launch, it had over 18 million visits. In just eight months, mobile traffic increased to 50 million visits – a 130% jump. We’ve had peaks where 30% of our traffic is from mobile.
CH: What changed after seeing this indicators?
DM: We decided to build a team to improve our mobile version even more and give it a new design, and the number of unique monthly visits continued to grow. Today, Taringa! receives more than 75 million visits per month, of which 26% come from mobile devices. We’re at about 27 million unique visits per month from mobile, with 19% growth. We calculate 62 million page views per month, a huge number. If we were starting from square one today, we’d start with mobile and then go to web, without a doubt.
CH: Do mobile users behave differently?
DM: They’re more loyal. There is a mass of users we call direct, who come to Taringa.net from mobile – it’s even more than on the web. On the web, we have a lot more traffic from search engines than direct. In mobile, the opposite happens, a lot of traffic is direct. Mobile users interact more, and they view more pages per visit. That’s why they spend more time on the site, and it’s what generates more marked engagement. Our strategy is aimed at having more functionalities from the mobile platform so that users can generate content from mobile devices. It’s also worth mentioning that, as opposed to what happens with desktop computers, we get more mobile visits from Mexico than from Argentina.
CH: Might that be an issue, in terms of the limitations of mobile content generation?
DM: The mobile version is aimed more at consuming content than at generating it. Some content may be generated. What happens is that it doesn’t have the number of features the web does because we’re just starting out, though we’re a small giant in mobile, given the results we’re seeing. To give you an example, it was impressive to see how traffic sources changed during Christmas and the New Year. On the 24th of December, 40% of the site’s traffic was from mobile phones, as opposed to 26% during the rest of the year. We’re seeing those trends on holidays and weekends.
CH: Do you have any other mobile-focused developments in store for 2014?
DM: In 2014, a major part of our product and business strategy will be focused on mobile web, with the development of native apps for iOS and Android and a hub for Windows Phone. Moreover, we’ll implement a new format for mobile advertising based on premium clicks, smart segmentation and behavioral context for smartphones.