The modern mobile web unofficially began in 2007 with the iPhone's Mobile Safari, the first full-featured mobile web browser. Over the past four years, mobile web traffic has skyrocketed across sites in nearly every business category.
Throughout this period, South Dakota's mobile market has been uniquely positioned in terms of carriers and devices. More specifically, prior to 2011, the iPhone was unavailable in South Dakota.
(Some people got around this by buying iPhones out of state, but it was not a common tactic, nor was it easy to get a native 605 area code with an out-of-state phone.)
The South Dakota iPhone drought was doubly solved this year when the Verizon iPhone was introduced on February 10, and again two months later when SD Alltel stores were officially transitioned to AT&T stores on April 1.
To examine the effect of the iPhone's new presence in the market, we examined the Analytics stats of a major regional website. The site in question is large, (50K+ visits per week), mostly local, (70% of visits from South Dakota), and non-seasonal. First we'll look at weekly mobile traffic from January through mid-August.
We immediately see the expected trend of increasing overall mobile traffic. Total mobile traffic has doubled since January, while non-mobile traffic (not shown) only increased by 15% over the same period. Also apparent from this graph is Android's current dominance in the region. But more interesting than that is mobile platform growth along the same time period.
Before looking at the iPhone, we'll examine the gains and losses of the other devices. Traffic from both Andriod and iPad devices more than doubled since the start of the year; traffic from the iPod Touch stayed about even between January and August; and traffic from Blackberry devices, which kept pace with Android for the first few months of the year, entered August about 40% down from where it started 2011.
But the real story of this graph is obviously the iPhone. Site visits from the iPhone have grown by more than 600% since the beginning of 2011. The first large jump in growth occurred in the middle of February, around the same time that the iPhone first became natively available in South Dakota. The April 1st arrival of AT&T corresponded with a similar, less dramatic increase.
What can we conclude from all this? When the iPhones finally came to South Dakota, South Dakotans wanted them. Moreover, iOS is still a growing platform. Consumers continue to adopt the iPhone 4, a 14-month old device, even as the new version of the hardware looms on the horizon.
The other platforms can't be ignored, though. Both Android and iPad traffic doubled in seven months, which is still quite significant. The only real loser in this data is Blackberry, which fell from 16% of the mobile traffic share in January to only 6% in August.
In all, the main takeaway has to be that mobile, as a whole, continues to grow. Not every business needs a mobile website, but every business at least needs a mobile strategy.
Need help with your strategy? Contact Click Rain for all mobile solutions, including mobile websites, SMS campaigns, and smartphone apps. We live for this stuff.