Brands that focus on the iPhone are ignoring the vast majority of customers that use other phones. That’s the message from mobile analytics firm Bango and it’s clearly underscored by the latest statistics.
Bango counts unique handsets that access all mobile sites that use Bango’s popular analytics tools to identify and track mobile visitors and process payments. For February 2009, the iPhone does not even make the Top 20. mobiThinking spotted this previously, but this is the first time that Bango has gone public with its message.
Given the hype about the iPhone and the surprising number of companies that have released Apple-only sites and applications recently, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Bango has gone a bit mad, but it is talking sense. Nor is Bango alone in pointing out this anomaly. The vast majority of your customers don’t use iPhones and won’t. iPhones are great, but they only account for a small percentage of smartphones and smartphones only account for a small percentage of handsets.
But weren’t Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch the top handsets in February 2009, according to AdMob Mobile Metrics Report? We hear you ask…
They were, but if you read AdMob’s report correctly, it doesn’t and never claimed to count unique users. AdMob counts the number of mobile adverts its advertising network serves to different types of phones, not unique handsets; so if iPhone users surf more (aren’t the majority of iPhone users on unlimited data plans?), then iPhones go to the top.
See Bango’s stats side-by-side with AdMob’s below.
But aren’t Bango and AdMob just measuring visitors to their customers’ sites?
That’s true, the view of both is restricted to their customers’ sites, which are concentrated in the US and European markets (both core markets for the iPhone), but they are recognized leaders in their fields, with large customer bases, so have a better perspective than most. More on this here.
So who backs up Bango’s view?
First up, there are the global sales figures for new smartphones for last year, released by Gartner:
So the iPhone was less than 1 percent of new phones last year – note this ignores all those people who didn’t change their phone last year. Would any marketers cast their net so needlessly thin in any other channel? See the hard figures below.
Geoffrey Handley, one of the co-founders of The Hyperfactory – one of the most respected outfits in mobile marketing globally – told mobiThinking that he has been amazed to see brands invest in iPhone applications as their sole mobile play. Many of these brands haven’t even got a mobile Internet site. What makes them so interested in this small subset of the mobile market, when they have so far totally ignored mobile Internet users as a whole?
Handley, like the rest of us, is a fan of the iPhone and thinks it is an important part of a brand’s overall mobile marketing strategy, but suggests that any brand that are taking their first steps in mobile start with the basics.
There’s an interesting blog here, from Ray Anderson, chief executive officer, Bango, on expanding on why companies need a mobile site for all mobile phones, not just iPhone users.
In a recent email newsletter from Crisp Wireless, Boris Fridman, chief executive officer, stated: “For everyone thinking about investing in an iPhone app, I say, kudos - but don't do it at the expense of a mobile website.”
mobiThinking concurs. The starting point in mobile for every brand is a mobile site that serves the need of all mobile users, whatever their handset. A state-of-the-art site should recognize every user whatever the handset and serve content that’s appropriate. There are plenty of tools that can help, though you could try Device Atlas, from our parent company dotMobi.
Do you think launching iPhone applications before a mobile Internet site is like trying to run before learning to walk? Comment below or email editor (at) mobiThinking.com
Here come the stats:
Global smartphone sales to end
users by Vendor, 2008 (Thousands of Units)
Unique handsets accessing mobile
sites using Bango tools
Most popular types of handset
models accessing AdMob adverts
Apple iPod Touch
Motorola RAZR V3
Sony Ericsson K800i
RIM BlackBerry 8300
Sony Ericsson W580i
Nokia N95 8GB
Motorola KRZR K1c
Nokia 5310 XpressMusic
RIM BlackBerry 8100
RIM Blackberry 8330 (Curve)
RIM Blackberry 9530 (Storm)
Sony Ericsson W200i
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