This week at the developer and startup-centric F.ounders conference, Thrillist CEO Ben Lerer has announced that his company's JackThreads iPhone app is responsible for 45% of their overall revenue. This statistic was part of the CEO's talk about how a modern mobile-centric strategy for a company such as Thrillist can be - and is - the best way to go. Lerer also mentioned that the company only very recently switched over to a "mobile-first" strategy in the past few months.
The shift Lerer mentions for the company he works with is, as he says, occurring in "real time." This company stared with a small email newsletter - being email-centric at the start, obviously, and has now quite recently announced that it generates over $40 million USD in revenue a year. Editorial content is now offered by the company through two brands: JackThreads and Thrillist Rewards.
According to Lerer, the JackThreads iPhone app is now king - a surprise hit, as it were. Before very recently, the company leaned more toward "web-first" or "email-first" strategies, but seeing the power of mobile in the JackThreads iPhone app, the company made a push for "mobile-first", and it's payed off in a big way.
“Our mobile-first strategy is a reaction to success we were seeing — we didn’t lean into a hot buzzword. We were web-first or email-first or not-mobile-first for a very long time, and over the past several months — and it has been this recent — we’ve seen such a shift in audience behaviors that instead of playing catchup, we decided we should be first movers in mobile.” - Thrillist CEO Ben Lerer
Lerer also mentioned that the Android app version of JackThreads was not quite doing the same business as the iOS iteration, noting that though the Android experience is "not as robust" as the experience they've got on iPhone, they've never seen the same sort of conversions. The two were not (and still aren't) comparable to one another, noted Lerer. He did mention, on the other hand, that they'd be delivering an iPad-specific version of JackThreads soon.
So though it's not universal, working with iOS primarily in this case, the way Thrillist does business has been pushed directly toward the mobile environment primarily - and they're seeing things take off in a big way.
Let us know if you've seen any companies doing heavy business in the mobile environment where they'd previously had good - but not monumental - success elsewhere before. We'll be watching!