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Brands need to look beyond iPhone to reach mass market: Bango

When it comes to the most popular phones for browsing and buying content on the mobile Web worldwide, the iPhone sits outside the top 20, according to research conducted by Bango.

The Bango Top 20 handset list, based on the company's February statistics, puts the Nokia 3110c on top, followed by the Samsung M800 in second and the Nokia 6300 in third. The iPhone appears as 24th on the list.

"Part of the reason we put this together is that applications are quickly becoming the business model for companies," said Anil Malhotra, senior vice president of Bango, New York. "It's kind of the mobile revenue model du jour.

"With all of that we decided to look into the reality of how mobile content and services are accessed," he said. "While we think there is going to be ongoing impact from devices like the iPhone it is easy to loose site of the fact that most consumers are not using these types of phones."

The study's findings represent the activities of major brands and businesses as their consumers browse to mobile Web sites (measured by Bango Analytics) and buy mobile content and services (as measured by Bango Payment).

The Bango chart shows the diverse range of handsets used for browsing the mobile Web worldwide with smartphones, accounting for 30 percent of handsets in the Top 20.

According to the findings, the iPhone has done a lot to encourage people to browse the Internet on their phones. However, to get the most out of their mobile marketing spend, companies who are riding the iPhone wave need to optimize their mobile sites for all phones.

This is particularly true for businesses with a mobile site who want to give their mobile visitors a great user experience optimized for their mobile device, as well as those selling mobile content and services.

Marketers need to choose their best channel to market and consider sales projections from the leading manufacturers.

Based on the number of handsets projected to be sold by the end of 2009, outside of Japan and Korea, Nokia is the leader with sales of the S60 likely to reach 300 million, followed by Windows Mobile and iPhone at 40 million, RIM at around 25 million and Google around 5 million.

The moral of the story: Mobile marketers need to better understand their users.

Analytics provides analysis of mobile visitors, mobile site activity and marketing campaigns, with detailed metrics including unique visitor count, country, network and handset of each user. This helps brands to make the best decisions about future mobile investments and get closer to their customers.

"What was quite surprising is how much traffic comes from international market," Mr. Malhotra said. "There is a lot of traffic to the application stores from Asia, Africa and Europe.

"It is worthwhile to consider a global audience when creating something for the app store," he said.