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.