Recently, I watched a video where another analytics vendor presented their take on which mobile platforms and channels retail companies should be investing in. What was their conclusion? Focus on the iOS platform. They were wrong and here’s why:

Big Mistake #1—Used Faulty Data

Data used in the analysis was not collected following mobile best practices. In fact, all devices without robust JavaScript support were effectively excluded; a mistake that eliminated from analysis a significant percentage of the site’s mobile visitors and increased the apparent importance of the iOS platform.

Big Mistake #2—Ignored Mobile Experiences

Mobile initiatives were not included in the analysis (e.g. mobile-optimized sites, mobile apps, etc.). As I’ve discussed before, providing mobile-optimized experiences can produce a very positive impact on key metrics. In fact, these experiences can easily double engagement and other key metrics for mobile users—something companies in Japan have known for years. Leaving out this very important leverage factor produces a faulty bias towards the iPad and by extension iOS.

To illustrate, I’ve included a segment of actual customer data (see chart below). You’ll note for this particular customer, revenue per visit for iPhone visitors is only average compared to other devices on both mobile and standard channels. In addition, the most productive mobile device on the standard site is the iPad both in terms of total revenue and revenue per visit. When you compare iPad performance on the standard site to the mobile site, you’ll notice revenue per visit is much lower on the mobile site—an indicator that iPad usage aligns more closely with the profile of a desktop user than that of a mobile user.

After factoring out the iPad and including the impact of optimized experiences on other mobile devices, iOS mobile revenue contribution comes in around 60% for this customer. That’s still a big number but certainly not large enough to justify an exclusive focus on iOS.

mobile revenue per visit

Big Mistake #3—Projected Segment onto the Market

Based on a handful of retail customers, the expert made a recommendation for the entire market. In reality, behaviors, usage patterns, and business objectives vary widely even between companies in the same industry. Given these and other differences, using another company’s results to define your own strategy is foolhardy at best.

Where You Should Invest

So which mobile platforms and channels should you invest in? The ones that bring the best ROI for your business! Keep in mind these channels and platforms may not be the ones recommended by the so called “experts”.

5 comments
Tiffany Doyle
Tiffany Doyle

Can I get a copy of that .pdf overview as well, please? Thanks.

jumoke
jumoke

Yeah tim, you are right. i always wondered why the discrepancy between my google analytics data and the data from the feedjit widget on my website. i guess it means i probably have more traffic than i think i have.

Tim Wilson
Tim Wilson

Nice post! I've run into several cases where someone has taken "mobile data" and jumped to a conclusion that seems pretty half-baked. The most common situation is when someone simply looks at the data from within Google Analytics and accepts the "Mobile" traffic numbers at face value -- ignoring the fact that Javascript must be enabled *or* some sort of server-side or static workaround has to be in place. There seems to be a dearth of information on the 'net about "how to get a reasonably accurate handle on traffic to your standard site from mobile devices." Even in your example above, no RIM devices cracked the top 10. I'm assuming that's because the checkout process on the standard site is completely unworkable on a Blackberry? Where does Sitecatalyst's mobile device tracking fall on the ease of implementation and comprehensiveness of devices front relative to the other major WA vendors? Where is a good write-up?

Ed Hewett
Ed Hewett

Sure thing Tiffany. I just sent this over direct to your email.

Ed Hewett
Ed Hewett

Thanks Tim. You're right-no Blackberry devices cracked the top ten on the standard site but it isn't because Blackberry users don't spend money on mobile as you can see from the mobile site rankings. With regards to mobile-centric implementations, SiteCatalyst has a straight forward approach appropriate to each of the most common mobile channels (standard web, mobile web, mobile apps, mobile messaging, rich media). As needed, the implementation for each of these approaches can be increased in complexity; and of course we're the best out of the major WA vendors :). I'll send you an overview in PDF form in a separate email.