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23% growth in device types offers challenge and reward to marketers, warns NetBiscuits

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The diverse range of devices being used by consumers to access the web is creating both risk and opportunity for mobile marketers, according to the Netbiscuits Web Trends report for Q3 2014.

Based on data from Netbiscuits Mobile Analytics, with an average sample of almost one billion page impressions per month, the Report captured more than 5,000 unique devices, up 23% on the previous quarter. And in a clear sign of further mobile fragmentation, the top five mobile devices being used represented 39% of all traffic, falling from 46% in Q2, with an influx of new vendors to the list.

Emerging and established vendors are looking for opportunities to gain market share and are increasingly developing specialist devices that fit particular cultural nuances. For example, a brand new Russian company will enter the fray with its smartphone aimed at Muslims in Russia. BQ-Mobile claims the device makes smartphones more accessible to a wider audience with its integrated religious-based features and functionalities.

Similarly, this quarter we were introduced to the Grandroid phone for the silver surfer: the Amplicomms Power Tel M9000, with large icons and text, simplified menus, an SOS button for help and extra loud volume ringer.

Netbiscuits also reports that Android continues to wage war on iOS in the run up to Christmas, accounting for 38% of total global tablet traffic, up 6% on the previous quarter. Tablet sales for Android are being driven by high volume, low cost devices. Netbiscuits anticipates significant growth for Android over the Christmas period, and predicts that Android will overtake iOS as the leading operating system in the base of tablets by end of March 2015, when it will reach 51% of the base of devices.

The report provides valuable insights to marketers on the huge variation of devices being used by consumers on the web across multiple channels, such as tablet, smartphone, feature phone and the desktop web.

The report also finds that the Apple iPhone 5S was the world’s most used device, with 13% of all traffic, but the iPhone 6 already accounts for 6% of Apple traffic. Phablets, smartphones with screens over 5 and up to 7 inches, have doubled their overall share within smartphone traffic in the last six months.The phablet category represented 7% of all traffic at the end of April 2014, rising to 14% by the end of October, and Netbiscuits predicts this category will account for a quarter of all web traffic by April next year.

Daniel Weisbeck, CEO, Netbiscuits, said: “The rise of more varied devices presents both a problem and an opportunity for marketers. It means that more care is needed to identify bounce and conversion differences by device type, as experiences vary tremendously. The days of focusing on simply the top five devices accessing your website are gone. Given that we are living in a multi-channel world, where consumers are using traditional web as well as a seemingly endless array of mobile devices, marketers have to go back to basics and get a very clear picture of how their customers behave based on both device and contextual factors. It isn’t enough to know your visitor is using Android or iOS, marketers need better information to guide this process, and Mobile Analytics are the way forward.”

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