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Bango encourages brands to seize BlackBerry growth opportunity

Bango found that BlackBerry is now the third most popular mobile phone for browsing the Web in the United States, accounting for 14 percent of all mobile traffic. BlackBerry is also placed fifth in Britain and worldwide, above Apple’s iPhone. Nokia remains the overall global leader with over 36 percent of traffic seen.

“BlackBerry phones are proving popular with customers who want to browse the Web from a mobile device and these customers are data savvy in that they are using WiFi a lot more to connect to the Internet where it is available thus saving on costs of using the Web from a mobile,” said Anil Malhotra, cofounder and senior vice president of alliances and marketing at Bango, New York.

Research in Motion’s BalckBerry devices were once seen as business-only phones. However, BlackBerry devices are increasingly becoming the preferred handset for consumers wanting to browse the Internet from their mobile phone.

The BlackBerry 8330 Curve now accounts for over 28 percent of BlackBerry devices browsing the Web.

“For Web browsing, BlackBerry devices represent a bigger audience than iPhone does,” Mr. Malhotra said. “This comes down to there being more users, who browse avidly, and have open access to any content and service.

“Compare the iPhone approach where users cannot download outside of the Apple Store as a result most of the third party marketing is based around the Apple app store channel,” he said. 

Bango’s research also found that the BlackBerry user base is much more likely to use WiFi as a connection method where available.

Some of the newer BlackBerry devices have a Wi-Fi connectivity capability which makes it easy to locate Wi-Fi hotspots and connect off-net.

By default, BlackBerry devices will connect by the RIM proprietary data gateway but can operate in either mode when the Web browser is launched.

This makes it very challenging for brands and content providers to accurately identify BlackBerry users for tracking, customer relationship management, sales and marketing campaign purposes.
Taking these findings into consideration, Bango urges companies to seize the BlackBerry opportunity and start capitalizing on its growth by ensuring their mobile sites and campaigns are optimized for these devices.

“Marketers need to be aware that BlackBerry users are avid browsers and therefore should be prioritized when building a mobile Web experience,” Mr. Malhotra said. “Marketers also need to understand that an AT&T BlackBerry user appears off-radar from a targeting perspective, because when browsing they connect outside of the AT&T network either through RIM’s own data gateways or via WiFi.

“So you need to make sure you have the appropriate tools to recognize a BlackBerry user, specifically target BlackBerry customers, make sure reporting and analytics knows how to identify them, especially if you’re buying ad inventory by network,” he said. 

“If you plan to bill customers from the handset, you’ll need to know how to identify the home carrier network because you can’t bill them through RIM, but you can through, say, AT&T, if you can work out they are an AT&T customer.”