Major Phone Releases and Overview & Strategies for 2018
The S8 was the most searched for mobile device in 2017 – a first for Samsung. At its peak, the S8 was 32% and 66%higher than the peaks of the iPhone 8 and X.
Apple attracts a similar online audience regardless of model, whereas, Samsung attracts a different segment from S8 to J5.
EE and O2 attracted the highest share of traffic across iPhone models. Samsung had a higher proportion of traffic going to Carphone Warehouse and 3.
Comparison is key for consumers. The term “vs” was the most searched-for specification (ahead of “camera” and “screen”), across all phone models.
See how networks and retailers can use search and audience data to increase converting traffic.
How did major phone releases perform online?
Search Demand: Major Phone Releases
The Samsung S8 was the most searched-for mobile device in 2017 – a first for Samsung compared to previous releases.
At its peak, “Samsung S8” searches were 32% and 66% higher than the peaks of “iPhone 8” and “iPhone X”.
By the time the iPhone X was release, other models like the Google Pixel 2 had taken share toward the end of 2017.
iPhone Searches: Older Models Still Popular
Apple’s strategy to release two mobile devices in two months has been one of contention.
The delayed iPhone X release in November had given a major boost to Samsung.
The popularity of the older iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 also endured throughout the year. At the time of iPhone 8’s release, searches for the iPhone 7 and 6 also rose by 25% and 14% respectively.
Samsung Searches: Other Models Unaffected
Contrasting to the iPhone, Samsung’s mobile devices didn’t see the same halo effect.
At the peak for the S8 (week ending April 22nd), searches for other Samsung models remained unaffected.
These included: the older S7, the low-cost A5 (released in January 2017), and the older low-cost model, the J5.
How do Apple and Samsung audiences differ by model?
iPhone: Similar Audience Across Models
Apple’s “halo effect” (when one model is released, searches for other models rise) is linked to the fact that each iPhone attracts a similar audience.
The iPhone 8, X, and 7 attract a younger audience who are risk takers and highly influenced by advertising and promotions.
This audience also has a high mobile usage and high rotation of phone models.
Samsung: Different Audiences by Model
In contrast, Samsung attracts a different audience per model.
Price is a driver (ranging from approx. £800 for the S8, to £200 for the J5), but other variables show the differing needs of each segment.
The S8 attracts a younger audience, driven by innovation. In contrast, the J5 attracts an older, brand conscious audience and low phone usage.
– By profiling audiences by model, a network can develop content and promos that resonate with each segment
– Networks can also track the frequency of upgrades to inform their bundling
packages (e.g. handset only offers for S8, iPhone 8 or iPhone X).
What is a Spontaneous Spender vs. an Image Idoliser?
Hitwise’s partnership with Kantar Media TGI allows marketers to marry online behaviour with consumer choices, at scale.
In the previous sections, we overlaid Hitwise’s online behavioral data with Kantar Media TGI’s market research variables, to provide a more in-depth view of customer segments.
We saw that iPhone users, regardless of model, fitted into the “Spontaneous Spenders” archetype.
Samsung users were a mix of archetypes, including Spontaneous Spenders, Trendspotters and Image Idolisers, depending on model.
Search Traffic Winners
How did Retailers and Networks perform by model?
Who Gets Each Phone Model’s Traffic?
Downstream results differ for Apple and Samsung, at time of phone release.
What’s MNO and MVNO?
MNOs = Mobile Network Operators (EE, O2, Vodafone, & 3)
MVNOs = Vrtiual Networks of Leased Networks (Tesco Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Talktalk, Giffgaff)
Searches for iPhones have a higher share of traffic going to Apple’s site, which was similar across models.
Searches for Samsung devices attracts a higher share for retailers and MNOs, depending on model.
iPhone Traffic: Dominance of MNOs
At time of release, each iPhone model sent a high share of traffic to the large mobile networks (MNOs). In particular, EE and O2 attracted the highest share for the iPhone 8 and iPhone X (in 2017) and 3 for the iPhone 7 (in 2016).
Samsung Traffic: Retailers and MVNOs
Samsung sees a higher share of traffic going to retailers, particularly Carphone Warehouse, at time of model release. A different set of networks arise too. These include: 3 and Sky for the S8, 3 and Virgin Mobile for the S7, and Giffgaff and Tesco Mobile for the A5.
Benchmark who is winning which model’s search traffic and why.
Tactics for Networks
How can search and conversion data be used?
Understanding Search Variations
Look at search variations in the lead up to phone release. Understand what are the top queries, in order to tailor content and offer.
The below example shows that in the weeks prior to the iPhone 8 release, the most-searched for specification was “vs” across top iPhone and Samsung models.
Tailoring Content and UX
Top retailers and networks, like Carphone Warehouse and EE, capitalized on this search need.
In time for the iPhone 8 release, both companies featured a comparison page, featuring the different specs across iPhone models.
Benchmarking Conversions on Networks and Retailers
Benchmark the customer’s journey on networks or retailers’ sites, at time of release.
This is shown below in the week of the S8 release. Seeing a larger basket rate drop, O2 could then compare their UX of Carphone and EE’s equivalent S8 pages.
Also seeing a larger confirmation rate drop, EE could also compare their S8 + network offers with Carphone and O2.
Conversion data on where and when people drop off, can feed directly into a network’s UX and bundling strategy. By tracking this daily/weekly, networks are then able to make tactical changes to improve their converting traffic.