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Digital Marketing

Three Keys To Mobile Conversion Success

by Tim Ash, on Feb 21, 2018

Smartphones are a staple of consumers’ daily lives. But even in a world where mobile traffic now accounts for half of all global web pages served, digital marketers continue to struggle to figure mobile out. 

That’s why the internet is littered with articles on how get mobile right like "mobile page speed is essential" or "keep you mobile UX simple and minimalist”. 

In this article, I will look at what you should strive to know about your mobile visitors, and with the right mind-set and tools, how you can focus on what matters to achieve mobile success.


1. Don't always rely on best practices. Visitor behavior varies on mobile

If there's one thing you can do to improve the mobile experience, it is this - follow your data! Don't use responsive web design (RWD) because it's trendy. Don't build a linear mobile user flow just because it's all the rage or because it's best practice. Take the unsexy route: check your data.

Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics or any of a dozen web analytics tools (i.e. quantitative tools) that can dissect smartphone, tablet, laptop and desktop traffic. That's a critical first step. You need to check which pages are being visited by most mobile users. Then you need to compare those to the pages being used by desktop/laptop visitors.


What's different?

If your mobile users are mainly trying to find contact information, consider putting that front and center on your mobile website. You can even go step further and implement ‘click to call’.

Furthermore, if mobile users are following a certain website path more often, use that data to prioritize which items should get priority.

Only if the top website pages for mobile are the same for desktop, then maybe it makes sense to invest in RWD.

A lot of businesses go directly to the "react" phase using best practices. But best practices only work well within a specific context. Figure out what your context is. Collect data. Observe. Analyze. Then you can react.


2. Smartphone conversions are around 1 percent, but what about the other 99 percent? 

Web analytics tools can inform you about your top pages, Voice of the Customer (VoC) solutions can tell you what the specific visitor tasks are. Then combining this with actual sales data and your sales funnels, you'll get a pretty good picture of your site's health, assuming you keep mobile and desktop/laptop traffic separate. This is where a VoC solution can really be handy and provide a qualitative dataset. Let’s look at an example – Say your smartphone conversion rate is around 1 percent (According to Statista, the conversion rate of online shoppers in the US on smartphones was 1.19 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2017). This means that 99 out of every 100 of your mobile visitors are doing something OTHER than buying from you. 

But that's not to say that you're not making money from those 99 visitors — some of them are checking store locations, others are comparing you to your competitors, and others are looking for your contact details. 

Some of those 99 visitors will convert on other devices such as on laptops and tablets, or even in your brick-and-mortar stores, but only if their mobile experience didn't suck.

If you're focusing on more than just making a sale, then their experience won't suck. You would know that 30 percent of your visitors are trying to check your prices, and you would devote resources to creating an awesome user experience for visitors performing that task.

You would know that a fourth of your mobile visitors are trying to find store locations, and that half of them are failing — and you would reallocate budget towards fixing that aspect of your website.

The point is that there are all these micro-conversions happening before you have your macro-conversion — the sale. Those micro-conversions add up, and you should fix the most common ones and the ones that need the most work. To do that efficiently, you need to know what the tasks are and what the failure rates are. And for that, VoC solutions are required.


3. Most mobile problems have known solutions, but prioritization is hard

Most marketers worth their salt KNOW that there are 50 things they need to improve and another 30 things that are flat-out broken on their website. This is even truer for mobile. It's tough to get it half-right, let alone perfect.

Your job as a marketer isn't to fix everything. As you have probably experienced, some of your fixes will break other things. Your job is to make sure that as many of your visitors can find what they need. But as you diligently perform that job, you have time, resource and internal infrastructure constraints.

How do you perform that job at scale? You need to whittle down your list to five things that are REALLY worth improving and two broken things that will REALLY move the needle. If you focus on fixing everything, you will fix nothing.

Whether you're implementing a mobile version of your website or implementing RWD, the idea is to use the data — quantitative and qualitative — to make sure you prioritize and improve where it matters.

Banner image source: Unsplash

Tim Ash
Tim Ash

Tim Ash is the author of the bestselling books on Landing Page Optimization, and CEO of strategic optimization agency SiteTuners, and chairperson of the Digital Growth Unleashed conference series. A computer scientist and cognitive scientist by education (his PhD studies were in Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence), Tim has developed an expertise in user-centered design, persuasion and understanding online behavior, and landing page testing. In the mid-1990s he became one of the early pioneers in the discipline of website conversion rate optimization. Over the past 15 years, Tim has helped a number of major US and international brands to develop successful web-based initiatives. Companies like Google, Expedia, Kodak, eHarmony, Facebook, American Express, Canon, Nestle, Symantec, Intuit, AutoDesk and many others have benefitted from Tim's deep understanding and innovative perspective.

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