Latest industry insight

Olympics bring 55 million visits to BBC Sport online

With the curtain now down on a momentous Olympic performance, it appears that not only the British team have cause for jubilation, with the BBC also striking statistical gold. 55 million site visits were reported by the BBC over the 2 week period, around 75% of which came from within the UK. Most notably, online video was up 300% to over 100 million requests, compared to the 32 million Beijing Games of 2008. Interestingly enough, it appears that the men’s and women’s tennis finals were the most hotly requested of the live streaming videos, massing over 800,000 requests between them. I’d love to see the stats for live video requests made on mobile devices for this, given the natural mapping between the geometry of the tennis court mobile device screens, arguably bringing with it a more literal interpretation of “content serving”. Another stat I would be interested to see is how this correlates with any reductions in employee absenteeism rates over the period. Increases in online viewing would suggest more viewers were dipping into the coverage in the course of their daily routines, rather than making any special arrangements to view events from the comfort of their own sofa.

Groupon shares dip as sales fail to meet expectations

When it comes to tech stock evaluations, investor expectations matter more than ever. No more is this true than in the case of Groupon. Despite having posted a 45% rise in revenue earnings to the quarter ending June 30, it, saw a 20% fall in the value of its stocks, based on a pessimistic (or perhaps more realistic) analyst expectations of future performance. Whilst legitimate concerns have been raised around the sustainability of its current business model and its approach towards company accounting, the initial public offering of $700 million realized on its entry into NASDAQ last November does now appear somewhat over-evaluated. Hindsight is a great thing, but as the old saying goes all that glitters, may not be gold, even if it is running at a 20% discount.

1 in 8 European smartphone owners conducted a retail transaction on their device

Two really interesting recent announcements relating to Smartphone usage and sales from highly respected market insight sources were announced recently. Firstly, comScore reported that 1 in 8 European smartphone owners completed an online purchase followed by news from Gartner that sales of smartphones were up by 42.7% to 154 million units. Apple and Samsung together accounted for 83% of all smartphone sales. In terms of manufacturers, Samsung has really been driving Smartphone sales, accounting for nearly two-thirds of total, with Apple lagging some way behind at just under 20%, as consumers hold out for the launch of the next iPhone. In terms of online purchases via Smartphone, the UK leads the way with 6.5 million users, with Germany in silver medal position at around 5.8m. But what are people purchasing via their Smartphones? Well, no single category exceeds 5%, with a varied range of purchase types being reported. Clothing/accessories come out top with 4.3% of the smartphone audience followed by books at 3.2%. Other services or goods purchased by European smartphone owners include consumer electronics/household appliances (3.1%), tickets (3.1%) and personal care/hygiene products at 2.1%. Of particular personal interest here is the push/pull effect Smartphones have on user e-commerce purchase behavior. For example, what would these splits would look like based around considered, pre-meditated online purchases versus those made in response to an email or online ad , the latter being essentially a by-product of a user’s mobile browsing behavior. Briefly extending this on a little further, this should have some underlying implications around user tolerance levels relating to ease navigation and purchase funnels. Namely, more casual and less-premeditated online purchasers, should logically be less tolerant of poor online experiences than those for whom the mobile device is acting more as a task completion tool with the user having already made the “commitment” to buy prior to coming to the site. See also: http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/14/gartner-global-mobile-sales-down-2-smartphones-surge-43-apple-stalls-as-fans-hold-out-for-new-iphone/

2012 search trends- Keyphrases get longer as searchers get more savvy

Recent news from Hitwise about the fact that the proportion of keyword search terms greater than 2 words continue to rise makes for interesting reading and brings with it some obvious implications for UX and onsite navigation in particular. Whilst short, 1-2 word search terms, (and how many of these are brand rather than pure content or task related?) still account for around 50% of total keyword search terms, keyword search strings of 3 words or more continue to account for a growing number of online searches as users look to trade more detailed search engine terms for onsite navigation and search.  With it comes the fact that users will increasingly be landing one or two levels down within a site making meta-data, taxonomies and good information architecture more important than ever.