The intersection of the mobile space and the Internet continues to be a challenge for mobile operators. Mobile advertising, for example, is getting a lot of attention in the mobile industry but it has yet to consolidate as a significant revenue generator (see Mobile Advertising - Learning to play by the rules).
Internet marketing and Web analytics have come a long way in the last five years, but there is still a long way to go in the mobile space. Interestingly, mobile operators are actually very good with metrics, when it comes to voice. They have precise indicators to evaluate network productivity, performance and utilization as well as detailed demographic and psychographic user data.
However, when it comes to Web analytics, mobile operators have not even started exploring its potential. Even in the USA, operators lag behind other industries such as finance and retail. Other regions such as Latin America and Europe are in an even worse condition.
We will continue to address mobile advertising given its relevance; for this post, however, I want to share my thoughts following an analysis I run of key operators in Latin America using Compete's on line web analytics tools.
The chart above shows the number of unique visitors for mobile operators in Mexico. In the last year, Telefonica Movistar scored a higher number of unique visitors than its competitors, despite the fact that Telcel has over 71% market share. Nextel, with 4% market share, actually outscored Telcel in Q3 08. Telcel had two peaks during 2008: in March, when the company launched a marketing campaign for its new 3G services and July, when it launched the iPhone.
If we take a look at the chart below, where we compare the performance of some of America Movil's properties in the Latin American region, including Telcel, we can see some interesting patterns. Telcel, the largest operation of the group with more than 50 million subscribers, scores below Peru and Guatemala. Even accounting for the fact that Telcel has more than one domain (I took the one with the highest score for this analysis), this clearly shows opportunities for improvement. In addition, the total numbers are very low and I do not believe this accounts for Internet penetration in the country. A score of a few thousand unique visitors is extremely low; this is a topic we will address in future posts.
Peru actually scores much higher than all other America Movil operations at the beginning of 2008, including Brazil and Mexico. Argentina shows a peak in August and September, when the iPhone was launched.
Trying to navigate a mobile operator's website can be a frustrating experience, even when you know what you're looking for; this seems to be a common problem with mobile operators around the world.
With the advent of content and other services that rely on the Internet for self provisioning, distribution or access (Address Backup, Ring Back Tones, Voice Mail, Push Mail to name a few) it is surprising that mobile operators are not paying more attention to their web strategy. Mobile applications are fast becoming intimately tied to the Internet, but operators have forgotten about aligning their web strategy to consolidate services and increase revenues.
Looking at the charts above, it is clear that Internet marketing and web analytics are hugely underutilized by mobile operators; we cannot expect mobile advertising and other web applications to take off in this environment. We will continue to analyze this topic in our next posts.