Browsing the Mobile Web: Anyone Out There?

Earlier this week, I published a post on the Taptu blog looking at the challenges of creating and selling mobile applications outside of the iPhone bubble, in particular at how developer Jan Ole Suhr released a Twitter client for S60, causing a stir around the pricing.

You know me, I love nothing more than a good ol’ rumble around the web, so when I came across some more tasty stats that didn’t agree with each other, I had to bite. Bango and AdMob both released recent figures for their top 20 handsets and there’s a Grand Canyon of difference in the top 3.

mobile_stats

Granted there is a fairly straightforward explanation for this variation; AdMob, as an ad network, has been one of the chosen ad providers for many iPhone app developers, who choose to monetise their apps through advertising.

No Monopoly, Apple

What is enlightening however, is that the iPhone and iPod Touch don’t feature at all in Bango’s top 20. As a more representative sample of the mobile web than AdMob’s figures, it’s fascinating to see that a phone as basic as the Nokia 3110 Classic tops the chart. This is 2009. Weren’t we supposed to have hover cars, food in pill form and travel to the moon by now!? Yet a phone with less features than my microwave tops the chart with over 12% of the traffic to cross Bango’s service.

[Tangent alert] Before anyone crucifies me, I believe older phones have some wonderful benefits. My favourite phone of all times is probably still the Nokia 6100, which was small enough for me to mistake it for some futuristic pill form food and had about a century of battery life. (Ok, only slightly exaggerating) I’m a big fan of the iPhone, not so much of second-rate touch devices like Nokia’s 5800, but I try to be fair and give each and every new phone a chance first. [Tangent over]

Part of the appeal of the mobile web as opposed to apps is that, generally speaking, it’s much more accessible from a wide range of devices, without device, geographic or network limitations. But speaking to a number of smaller mobile website owners, it seems everyone’s missing a trick.

Stats Geeks Wanted

On desktop, most of us have caught on to Google Analytics and use it regularly to keep an eye on the ups and downs of our website. On mobile? Tumbleweed in most cases! Sure, Google Analytics and others aren’t suitable for mobile, but there are options. In fact, Bango’s mobile analytics service is not only simple to use, but has an admin area that rivals desktop packages.

Weirdly, these analytics could just as well be used on a desktop site. What, do you really think you don’t have a single mobile visitor to your desktop site? iPhone and other higher end phones will cope with Javascript (necessary to make a mark on Google Analytics, for example), but the majority of the devices listed on both AdMob and Bango’s top 20 won’t even register on your stats.

Personally, as a marketing gal and stats geek, I can’t imagine why a marketing manager wouldn’t want to improve reported numbers just by adding a new set of analytics. It ain’t cheating, it’s just usefully flagging up users you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.

Fly Me To the Moon

So while there are heinously bad phones out there *cough* motorolaimlookingatyou *cough* and site developers who forget that not everyone’s interested in a big Flash animation welcoming you to the site, we just can’t deny that it’s slowly becoming more or less enjoyable to browse the web on a phone, so it’s worth supporting that through good mobile design and smart tracking of what users coming from phones rather than 24″ screens get up to.

As far as I’m concerned, you’ll only find me browsing on an iPhone, since I’m not yet quiiite satisfied with touchscreen alternatives out there. Of course, I’m a willing guinea pig… at least while I wait for my brain implant, jetpack and weekend ticket to the moon.

[Disclaimer: Taptu and Bango are both clients with whom I work on community development. As for Apple and AdMob, I’m merely watching them evolve with great interest.]

Calling all geeks: Win a free ticket to Being-Digital in London, 10th June

South by SouthWest, Future of Web Apps, Future of Mobile, Fuel Conference, Mobile World Congress… Yes, I love conferences and, most of all, I love meeting new people.

Coming up soon is Being-Digital, a conference organised by the Mashup* events crowd, and I’m going along with Bob Last, from Taptu, who’s going to be speaking alongside with some other great speakers and entrepreneurs.

Being cheeky as I am, I asked the organisers whether I could extend the invitation to attend the conference to the Taptu blog readers. I now hold one precious ticket, worth £325, and I can’t wait to give it out!

So take part in the competition to win the ticket by creating a video, showing off some pics or leaving a blog comment telling us about the most unputdownable gadget ever.

I’ve got a goooooooolden ticket, come and get it! And see you at Being-Digital on the 10th of June, right?

Mobile World Congress, Barcelona

Tomorrow morning, really bloody early, I’ll be heading off to Barcelona to attend Mobile World Congress, an event of gargantuan proportions (from what everyone tells me). I’ll be blogging as much as possible on the Taptu blog and twittering away*. If I’m lucky, I should have the time to post a few videos to my Qik profile.

If you’re also attending Mobile World Congress, then pop by and see me at the Taptu stand, 7D42, in hall 7 and join me for a coffee or a beer!

[* Thanks to Alex Payne at Twitter, I now have the username Vero, which uber-rocks!]

Blog Topic Challenge: "Write about your job"

As first entry for my infamous Blog Topic Challenge, I thought I’d begin with an elementary and logical first step.

James Whatley, SpinVox blogger and great friend of mine, suggested that I should “write about your job and everyone you have ever met in your niche industry…” Great suggestion, but there are just too many awesome people I’ve met so I’ll split this into two entries, concentrating on the “write about your job” part first.

Taptu.com LogoFrom one day to the next, I wear many hats… and wigs… and tiaras. By daylight, I’m part of a great team at Taptu. It’s my first time taking part in the early days of a startup and I’m really enjoying it. There are new challenges every day, which is a refreshing change from previous jobs where tasks were repetitive to say the least (could YOU spend 52 weeks a year sending email newsletters that always say the same thing? I couldn’t.)

These days, there’s blogging, attending events, handling search engine optimisation (which I love), researching new ideas for the search engine, speaking to our mobile search users as well as our Facebook app users to get their feedback (which I love even more!) and planning future super-secret projects which I can’t tell you about yet… unless you ply me with shiny gadgets, at which point I might just crack. Or not. (But you can offer me shiny gadgets anyways!) 😉

My job also entails making copious amounts of coffee every day and occasionally teasing Bob about his taste in movies and Lynsey about her Scrabulous choice of words.

All in all, it’s exciting and challenging. And no, you can’t have my job!

Blog Topic Challenge: Want to suggest the next topic for me to write about? Leave a comment here and I’ll tackle your topic soon!

Tell me what you think of the mobile web

Do you work in mobile? Do you have questions about mobile phones? Do you have an opinion on mobile phones of today? (Who doesn’t!)

Tomorrow, I’ll be hosting the 94th Carnival of the Mobilists, a big roundup of news and posts in the week about the mobile world, over on Taptology, the Taptu blog.

I would love to get some fresh blood into the Carnival, so if you want to contribute, send a link to a post about mobile you’ve written recently to mobilists at gmail dot com before midnight PST tonight and I’ll include you in the roundup.

A day in the life of a mobile tester

Testing screens on many mobile phonesIt’s a work thing but I wanted to crosspost my entry on testing for mobile, because I just love the screenshot. Neil, our testing dude, is a god of focus and dedication.

I can’t imagine doing all this thumb-RSI-inducing testing without getting distracted to death… Oooh look a butterfly, ooh I wonder what’s happening in San Francisco this weekend… Ooh I wonder what that scribble on paper was supposed to mean…

Along with the rest of the team, I’ve been searching, clicking, browsing and trying to break the search, and I really can’t wait for us to go live with the beta so that I can show off what we’ve done to everyone. But patience, still a bit of testing to be done!

Oh hello there!

I'm Véro - a crafty, knitty, spinny gal who enjoys making (and drinking) a cocktail or three. If you've stumbled here, you might enjoy browsing some of my older posts with the tags over to the right or finding out more about me.

Say hi in the comments or on Twitter! :)

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