In the previous part of this look at what the Top 100 Youth Brands (according to The Beans Group) are doing on mobile, we established that apps are more commonplace than mobile sites, that iPhone still rules the mobile ecosystem, and that Doritos has focused its mobile marketing push on Arabic countries.
In this part, we're looking at the very top brands – how do the top 50 compare to the bottom half? Is the mobile-optimised situation any better in the top 10? Essentially, does having a fully-featured mobile offering help push your brand appeal up?
Taking a broader look at the mobile industry's place in this list, it's worth noting that Instagram, the only brand primarily known for its mobile app to make the list, only barely made it into the 100 at all, coming at #97. No mobile operators appear in the top 50 (the most popular, O2, placing at #81), but two handset manufacturers do make an appearance – Samsung (#40) and Apple (#24).
Of the Top 50 brands, 29 have a mobile-optimised site – slightly better than the 50 brands in the lower half of the Top 100, of which 27 have a mobile site.
39 have at least one app, all but one of which includes an iPhone app. That's roughly the same as in the Top 100 overall, but higher ranked brands were more likely to have an Android app.
33 brands had an app on the Google Play store, versus 27 in the bottom half – that's 84 per cent of those top 50 brands with any app offering, compared to 72 per cent.
The Top 20 is a little better in all regards, but the numbers largely paint the same picture. The most notable increases come in the platforms their apps are available on. 80 per cent of the top 20 brands had an Android app – meaning of all of the brands with apps included the OS. Meanwhile, half had an iPad app, compared to 32 per cent of the Top 50.
Looking at the Top 10 – which, in descending order, is comprised of YouTube, Wikipedia, Cadbury's, Google, BBC, Skype, Doritos, Boots, Amazon, and Cancer Research UK – there's a huge improvement.
Nine of the brands have a mobile-optimised site – Cadbury's is the only Top 10 brand which doesn't – and all 10 have an app of some variety.
Android particularly comes into its own in the Top 10 – every single one of the brands has an Android app, while only nine have an iPhone app. That's thanks to Doritos, whose Dip Desperado promotional game is only available on Android in the UK.
The iPad remains the least-used platform, with only eight of the brands (all but Doritos and Cancer Research) having an app developed specifically for Apple's tablet.
Chicken or egg?
But why are these numbers so much better? Well, firstly, because half of the Top 10 (YouTube, Wikipedia, Google, Skype, and Amazon) are primarily online brands, with Google having its finger pretty deep in the mobile pie. This possibly skews the results slightly, as it's been mostly been traditional high-street retailers and food, drink and fashion brands which have been slow to adopt.
On the other hand, there's a clear dedication to include mobile among all of the higher ranked brands – and maybe that's why they rank so highly.
"It's no surprise that the top brands in the Youth 100 have a strong mobile presence," says Luke Mitchell, head of youth strategy at The Beans Group. "The youth audience are accessing more and more content on the move and brands that channel this trend are going to come out on top."
Again, we return to the question of whether having a fully-featured mobile offering really helps improve a brand's reputation among the mobile-savvy 16-24 audience. Really, it's hard to say from these results. While there's a clear trend of the higher-ranked brands having a better mobile offering, it's possible that this is as a result of their status, rather than the other way around.
At the very least, it's good to see top brands setting a positive example in the mobile space. But there is a little more to it than that. What makes this the Top 100 Youth Brands different from a lot of similar lists is that it's not decided by monetary worth, or market position – meaning that the top companies naturally have more money to invest in mobile – but by their public perception.
Take Cancer Research, for example, which took the number 10 spot. As a charity, it doesn't necessarily have the money to invest in new technology, at least not without great justification – something that is perhaps reflected in its lack of a specific app for iPad. And yet it has a mobile-optimised site, and both iOS and Android apps – something that can't be said for a lot of companies with higher revenues.