Beantin

James Royal-Lawson

sweden

Did the mobile web reach tipping point?

A year ago I said that 2010 would be the year that the mobile web reached tipping point. The question is, did it?

There are many ways you could measure it and we could argue all day about what is the best way to measure it. Mobile page views? smartphone devices sold? Mobile web bandwidth use?

Visits and Pageviews

I’m going to use figures for pageviews and visits from a client’s website in this article to help illustrate how much mobile web use has grown in 2010. I’m going to leave the site anonymous, but I will give you a few background details.

The site is based in Sweden and it’s visits are predominately from the Stockholm area. It’s visited by a full cross-section of Internet users from all generations. There is no mobile adjusted site available – all visitors use the same, full, desktop version. The number of pageviews a month is around 45,000.

600% increase

number of mobile visits rising during 2010 with a jump in July and year end

Up to November 2009 the site had received no visits from mobile devices. In the three months from December 2009 to February 2010 this increased to 1.7% of visits. In December 2009 only 1.1% of pageviews were served to mobiles with most being to iPhones. (Note that I’m including the following devices in the statistics for “mobiles”: iPad, iPod, iPhone, Android, Symbian).

In December 2010, this figure had increased to 6.5% of page views and 8.5% of visits. The iPhone still dominates, with the iPad and Android devices sitting pretty and fighting over 2nd place.

Mobile pageviews: iPhone most with 59.49%

Tipping point reached

The tipping point for this web site came at the end of July 2010. The end of July saw the launch of the iPhone 4 here in Sweden. Once people returned to work after the traditional summer break the number of pageviews served to mobile devices pretty much doubled and hasn’t looked back since.

It would also appear that plenty of people got an iThing for Christmas judging by the spike of pageviews since then. It is, of course, too early to know for sure if this new doubling of mobile visits will be sustained, but so far it hasn’t dropped back.

Bear in mind that all of these figures are for a website that has made no attempt to attract mobile and handheld visitors, and has made no adjustments to cater for them either. These visitors are the people who are deciding to use the site regardless of the limitations – presumably because accessing websites via their handheld device has become a standard form of behaviour for them.

As big as Chrome

Given that the total number of mobile pageviews is over three times as many as for IE6, and pretty much the same percentage as pageviews served to visitors using Google’s Chrome browser – It’s crucial that you regularly check your website on mobile and handheld devices.

You need to check your site regularly, not only during development development or design projects. Just as it has been standard practice for many years to check a range of web browsers, it is now standard practice to check a range of handheld devices too.

What use is a newspaper?

It’s not like we needed any more proof that the newspaper industry is filled with problems and struggling to adapt, reinvent, and revive itself – but yesterday’s explosions in the centre of Stockholm have given us another example.

This picture accompanying this blog post shows two screenshots from this morning side by side.

Print edition

The left most screenshot is of page 10 of Dagens Nyheter. The paper and PDF edition (bought from PressDisplay using my Android Tablet) of Dagens Nyheter contains just two pages of content about the explosions – including a large picture on the front cover. The article on page 10 I’d already read online yesterday evening in the hours after the news broke.

Online

The right most screenshot is Dagens Nyheter’s website. 6 articles, 1 collection of images and a video-clip. A number of the articles were published yesterday evening, before the print/PDF edition of the paper appeared.

As useless as you can get

Coverage of current events and the “traditional” newspaper format and “traditional” way of publshing are about as useless as you can get these days. Paywalls and subscription models aren’t going to help there.

Yammer usage within Swedish organisations

There’s been an increasing interest in internal corporate communications tool Yammer, but in more recent times that interest has jumped. Having noticed this spike in interest Per Axbom decided to investigate. Per created a survey using Wufoo and asked people in his network who used Yammer to take a few minutes to complete it.

Although there are a number of products that occupy a similar space in the market (Present.ly and Socialtext to mention just two), Per chose to investigate Yammer as it was the tool he is most familiar with, and because he wanted the answers from each company to be comparable – which wouldn’t be possible if several tools were surveyed simultaneously.

Google trends graph showing recent jump in searches for Yammer

Initial findings

After 9 days, and just over 30 responses, Per has published his initial findings.

  • Yammer seems to be most popular in organisations of up to 50 people (over 75% of those who answered)
  • Management are often aware that Yammer is being used, but the network is not being used so much for spreading information from the management team.
  • By far the most common type of use was sharing information between colleagues.
  • Very few search the history. Information is “here and now”.
  • Generally respondents were not worried about the security of Yammer.
  • Answers were divided regarding whether Yammer saves organisations money or not. Presumably few companies have a way of measuring this.

Pie chart showing that mostly smaller teams are active on Yammer

Revolutionary?

Per concluded that Yammer is potentially a revolutionary tool for intranets, in a similar way to how WordPress has been revolutionary for public web publishing. Especially if it (or another similar product) opened itself up better to third-party adaptions.

I agree with Per. Yammer is wonderfully disruptive, and despite some flaws (such as it’s poor API, and potential security problems with the free version), it can help trigger a genuine shift in the way companies collaborate and communicate internally – both directly and indirectly.

Still open

The survey is still open. Per has decided to keep it open for a further 1-2 months. This gives more people at more companies chance to answer whilst still restricting the time-frame to keep the analysis relevant. Let’s see what the full survey says towards the end of the year.

Close your corporate website and move to Facebook?

Earlier this week the Swedish arm of international advertising agency Grey decided to shut down their corporate website (and blog) and move their site over to a Facebook page. Idiot move or genius?

Maintaining a website: Boring and awkward?

According to David Schweiler, Digital director at Grey in an article on Resumé, the big advantage of moving to Facebook is that “[you] don’t have to update your regular website anymore, which is both boring and awkward”.

On their website there is a screenshot of a Facebook status update saying that they have moved to Facebook because “We want be where people already are.” and then say that 2.5 million Swedes are already there.

Screenshot of the new look grey.se

Not recommended…

Generally if you have an existing website, then I wouldn’t recommend that you delete it overnight and switch over almost entirely to Facebook. There’s a number of reasons why that’s a silly thing to do – one of which is that it rips the heart out of your search engine profile, leaving customers searching and finding nothing, or at best a page not found.

…But nothing much to lose

In Grey Stockholm’s case, they really didn’t have much to lose. Their old regular site was totally built in flash. It was almost certainly difficult for them to maintain and update. Probably also difficult to measure and assess the success of the site in fulfilling its goals.

Screenshot of the old flash-based grey.se

As a result of being a (poorly constructed) flash-based site, their entire profile in Google consists of 7 pages, most of which is scrap that shouldn’t really be indexed, but has been picked up and included by Google.

From one walled-garden to another

GreyStockholm on Facebook

So by moving their website to Facebook they have effectively moved from one walled garden (Flash) to another walled garden (Facebook). Yes, it’s going to be easier for them to publish updates. Yes, potentially they are going to bring themselves closer to their customers than the site did – but that’s more of a reflection on their (old) site rather than websites at large.

Grey.se as seen in Google's index

What this series of events in the development of their web presence shows is the agency’s lack of understanding of how the web actually works. A lack of understanding of search engines. A lack of understanding of task-based surfing behaviour. A lack of understanding of some basic web standards and techniques. Sadly this is all too common for traditional advertising agencies.

Facebook is no substitute

Grey may be saying that they’ve moved their site to Facebook, but there are certainly numerous tasks and situations where a well thought through and effective “regular” website would be perfect. Situations where a Facebook page is no substitute.

In the hours since Resume published their article they have doubled their number of Facebook fans from 77 to 154. So, perhaps one goal has been reached.


A Swedish take on Grey’s move to Facebook by Magnus Nilsson can be read here: Flytta från webben till sociala medier och blotta ditt nederlag and another one here by Thord Daniel Hedengren: Reklambyrå stänger sin sajt och flyttar till Facebook.

Update: 20110328

Grey Stockholm recently merged with Ogilvy Stockholm to form a new agency called Ingo. In connection with this merger Grey renamed their Facebook page from greystockholm to ingo.

50% of the online population of Sweden has a Facebook account

Swedish population: 9,340,682.
Under 12s: 1,243,275.
Over 75s: 798,446.
Approx online population therefore: 7,298,691.
Facebook accounts in Sweden: 3,645,820.

Population figures from SCB. Number of Facebook accounts from Facebook via Facebakers.

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