With the latest news that Blackberry will be taken private and give up the consumer business to focus on the enterprise are signs that Blackberry will never recover their mobile market share, which ComScore reported at 4.3% of the US market as of July 2013. What do these events mean for B2B companies who still have a mobile strategy that is reliant on a Blackberry-using audience?
Many regulated industries like finance, health care and government have stuck with the devices due to compliance issues requiring employers access employees’ communications records. The first question you need to ask is how many of your customers and prospects still use Blackberries. Do your own research of your website with your web analytics program. Google Analytics breaks traffic down by specific devices. Under the audience tab, go to Mobile and choose Devices.
When reviewing this for SocialMediaB2B.com, there was only one Blackberry model (BlackBerry 9900 Dakota) listed among the top 25 devices. Since most of the traffic comes from Apple devices and a small percentage from Samsung devices, we can choose to ignore the Blackberry. But that is our audience. If you find a large number of Blackberries accessing your web site, here are three things to do to make sure your mobile efforts reach your audience.
1. Test Your Mobile Site on a Blackberry Simulator
As more and more people access your website, blog and landing pages on mobile devices, you need to know how they look on those devices. It is never hard to come up with an iPhone, iPad or even the latest Android phones from your co-workers to view your site. Blackberries are harder to come by. But if you have determined that you need to test your site on a Blackberry and you don’t have access to a real device, install a Blackberry simulator to make sure you see what your visitors see. If you have never paid attention to these devices and your site uses incompatible technology, your response depends on how big the audience is and how broken the site is. Also see #3 below before expending significant resources in fixing these problems.
2. Avoid Building Native Blackberry Apps
If you were planning on developing a Blackberry app, no matter how large your Blackberry audience, you need to stop. This audience is shrinking, and for many reasons these people will be switching to other devices. The best option now is to focus on building a mobile web-based app that takes advantage of the latest technology that is compatible with multiple devices. Blackberry provides tools to make sure HTML5 apps are compatible with their devices too.
3. Start Planning for a Move to iOS
As Blackberry stops selling devices to consumers, fewer people will have Blackberries. As more IT departments let people bring in their own devices (iPhones) or provide iPhones to them, there will be fewer Blackberries. Unless you work in an industry where the Blackberry provides something that no other device can provide, which only seems to be a physical keyboard and a blinking red notification light, the majority of your customers and prospects will no longer be using Blackberries. That means it is time to begin optimizing your mobile experience for the iOS. This doesn’t mean create an iPhone app, but test your website, blog and landing pages on an iPhone and iPad. Make sure visitors can do what you expect them to do.
Are you still paying attention to Blackberries in your B2B mobile marketing or has your audience moved on to other devices?