Monday, November 26, 2012

Internet Moneyball: Why Android, Facebook and Twitter are Overrated

Over the Thanksgiving break, I finally got around to watching the Moneyball movie. I enjoyed the movie and was also amused by this transformation of a business book into a good entertainment piece. It's also a great reminder about how statistics and data can be a far more powerful measure of reality than conventional wisdom.

Which brings me to these interesting posts from Business Insider that capture some great analytics data from the black Friday weekend world of online shopping:

Is It Time To Conclude That Android Gadgets Are Bought By People Who Don't Actually Do Anything With Them? This post is an interesting look at online traffic and, more specifically, the difference in the number of Android devices in the world versus the percentage of web traffic. Consider these numbers from the article:
Android phones now account for nearly 75% of the global smartphone market. The next closest competitor is iPhones, which have about 15% of the market.
In the U.S., Android is clubbing iPhone 53% to 34%.
Contrasted against these traffic stats:
A recent survey of mobile web usage found that a staggering 60% of mobile web visits came from iOS devices, while only 20% came from Android.

A study IBM did of Black Friday online sales showed much the same thing--except that it was even more skewed.

iOS (iPads and iPhones) accounted for nearly 20% of Black Friday sales.
Android devices, meanwhile, accounted for only 5.5%.
Of course, this traffic disparity is no surprise to anyone looking at their analytics traffic. In the back of my mind, I used to chalk this up to the newness of Android or the lack of market penetration. Most of the people that I know use iPhones or iPads, so there's also a first-person perceptual sense of the market. But the reality of these stats seems to point to something more significant. Like Moneyball, the analytics stats reflect a different reality than conventional wisdom might suggest, one that underscores a measurable difference between iOS and Android. In this case, unit volume isn't much of a measure of the demographic and, unless you make components that go in these handsets, the number of Android devices doesn't really matter. There is a disconnect between devices and 'users'.
Guess What Percent Of Black Friday Online Sales Came From Twitter Referrals? There are a lot of interesting online sales stats in this post. But for me, there are another two highlights from this post that are worth noting:
Only 0.68% of Black Friday online sales came from Facebook referrals--two-thirds of one percent. That was a decline of 1% from last year.
Commerce site traffic from Twitter accounted for exactly 0.00% of Black Friday traffic. That was down from 0.02% last year.
Again, these are just data points, but they point to a disconnect between how these platforms are being pitched and how they are being used.

There's more good stuff in each post, so take a minute and dive into each one -- it makes for some interesting holiday leftovers.

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