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Understanding user personas through mobile analytics

Marketers don’t have it easy, do they? Just when we think we’ve nailed every aspect of audience engagement, along comes a new channel, bringing with it fresh ways of engaging with customers. Once we had taken care of the world wide web, than mobile emerged, creating a whole new way of thinking about customer engagement.

At Netbiscuits, we speak to brands of all shapes and sizes, and one of the things I hear repeatedly is the huge amount of guesswork being made to understand which devices customers are using to access mobile websites. Most of us will have experienced the frustration of trying to use a website that has not been optimized for mobile, but when you consider the lack of science behind some of the decisions being made, it does raise eyebrows.

With this in mind, we recently looked across our Mobile Analytics platforms and identified a number of recurring customer personas based on distinctive mobile web usage patterns and trends. We don’t claim that these are all-encompassing, but they do suggest some interesting insights into why brands need to understand their users’ behaviors first, and how context plays a crucial role in defining what mobile user experience customers want from their devices.

Commuter Consumers

Our quarterly web trends reports shows a spike of smartphone traffic during the rush hour period, but also a growing number of tablet detections. Bandwidth speeds at the point of connection can vary dramatically during this time due to movement and signal levels. While consumers may use a native application like FlipBoard or Twitter, they are still clicking through to the web to find linked content. Visitors don’t question the reasons ‘why?’, they simply have the expectation that advertising and media content will be complimentary to their bandwidth connection speeds – if it’s too slow, they will abandon. It’s that simple.

Caffeine Collective

Early morning web surfers reach for their devices as part of their ‘before-leaving-for-work’ routine. While there are still a significant number of people who use their smartphones at this time of the day, more and more prefer to use larger screens like phablets and tablets, which offer higher performance capabilities. Because they’re often at home, they’re usually connected to a wifi network with have high-levels of bandwidth availability. These larger devices tend to have higher screen resolutions, better CPU and GPU capabilities, and can drive a willingness to spend more time on site for purchasing goods. Battery levels may be higher in the morning due to an overnight charge, and therefore demonstrate a greater willingness to watch HD videos and engage in highly interactive touch-journey experiences.

Sofa Surfers

Netbiscuits research shows us that this persona is typically an evening visitor, is most willing to buy, spends the longest time browsing websites, and often interacts with more than one device at any given time. You may find that tablet use spikes among these users during this specific time of day. Users typically have access to wifi, and may be the most willing to allow cookies in order to get access to the rich content they crave.

This may sound complex, but this is the kind of relevant data that can help marketers gain a much better understanding of customers and their behavior. Profiling is just one element of device analytics, but it can be extremely powerful, especially when used in conjunction with web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics.

The world continues to talk about ‘big data’ in abstract terms, but what I’ve hoped to illustrate are real world examples of how marketers can use these mobile data points to convert them in to meaningful insights. Interpreting the data in to a language that is accessible and relevant to Marketers is the key to using big data as a source to profile and influence customer behavior.

Daniel Weisbeck is CMO and COO of Netbiscuits – click here to learn more about mobile web customer personas and mobile analytics