Sales of new BlackBerry 10 devices are helping to increase web traffic at one particular mobile ad network, but not enough to offset falling usage for all BlackBerrys, both old and new. The information comes from Chitika, which put together ten weeks worth of data and follows last month’s official BlackBerry news of just 2.7 million BlackBerry 10 handset sales in the most recent quarter.
Before looking at the data, it’s worth mentioning that it comes from a single ad network. As a result, it can only provide a general guideline of the overall situation. Combining BlackBerry’s own sales data helps add more weight to the report, but again, this is a limited glimpse of mobile web usage in North America. Chitika’s sample consisted of “millions of online ad impressions recorded on our network from April 12 through June 17, 2013.”
So what does BlackBerry 10 web usage on Chitka’s network look like during this time period? It’s up with a particularly noticeable jump when the new Q10 launched in the U.S.:
That’s the good news and it makes logical sense: New device launches typically bring a boost in sales and usage. But there’s a key question that needs answering: Can BlackBerry successfully transition its loyal fan base from older devices to the new BlackBerry 10 phones?
The jury is still out on that yet but we already know that in the most recent quarter, only 40 percent of BlackBerry devices shipped actually ran the newer operating system. And according to Chitika’s network data, total BlackBerry web usage has actually dropped by half in the past six months:
“Despite the increase in traffic share from BlackBerry 10 devices, the overall traffic share from BlackBerry users has declined. Over the length of this study, BlackBerry-based ad impressions accounted for an average of 0.7% of total mobile Web traffic on the Chitika network. Six months back in December 2012, Blackberry contributed to about 1.39% of total mobile traffic.”
Six months ago that figure was paltry enough when compared to iOS on Chitika’s network, which accounted for 63.47 percent of web usage in December of 2012. And now, the BlackBerry web usage on network is even lower.
Again, this information is just one indicator of many. Still, it’s not promising to me when I see the data. It suggests that the other smartphone platforms continue to grow faster than BlackBerry; not a good sign for the new platform. Still, longer term data is what we need to see before calling BlackBerry 10 a failure or a success.