Report: Don't Ignore Mobile Device 'Long Tail'
In the midst of the mobile device fever gripping the publishing industry, a new report from Internet publishing platform provider Netbiscuits sheds light on how mobile business profitability extends beyond the latest Apple craze to a so-called "long tail" of Web-enabled devices, which, combined, generate the majority of website requests. "The Mobile Web Device Report: How Mobile Device Usage for Internet Access Varies by Market, Industry and Time" concludes that overlooking the long tail when optimizing mobile websites and developing apps for the dominant few-like the iPhone and BlackBerry-means publishers all too often miss out on a substantial chunk of potential traffic.
"For publishers that want to go mobile successfully, it is important to understand that the long tail of devices can—and very often does—outweigh 'the dominating few' in their market, industry or target group," explains Ron Farmer, managing director of Netbiscuits Inc. "For a successful mobile strategy, it is therefore essential to optimize mobile services for all devices from the beginning."
Based on data generated from the more than 2.5 billion page requests served by Netbiscuits between February 2009 and February 2010 in markets around the world, the report highlights the abundance of unique mobile devices used by real-world customers to access the Web. These include gaming consoles, wifi-enabled music players, e-readers and tablet computers along with smart and feature phones. Though most of these separately generate a share smaller than 1 percent of all page requests, their combined impact should not be underestimated, the report said.
According to the report, February 2010 statistics saw the top two devices (the iPhone and iPod Touch) capture 35.56 percent of the market, with the Blackberry Curve running a distant third at 4.13 percent. The remaining 2,505 devices generated 60.31 percent of all traffic, commandeering for the long tail camp nearly two thirds of all requests to Netbiscuits' mobile publishing platform. Of these, 2,492 devices had a share smaller than 1 percent of the mobile Web market.