5 Deadly Mobile Conversion Mistakes And How to Avoid Them

Posted by Tim Ash on 26 April 2014 | Comments

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Mobile DeadlyMobile conversions can be tricky, but many of the general web site conversion rules still apply: never stop testing, focus on macro-and micro-conversions, always segment, and do the math. Device-centered problems like the lack of a physical keyboard are great to solve for, but only if you have a fundamental understanding of what you’re trying to do.

Deadly Mistake 1: Failing to understand user intent

One of the most common ways businesses try to optimize the web site for mobile phones is Responsive Web Design (RWD). That solution is great – for certain use cases. For instance, if the top pages consumed on desktops are the same ones used on mobile phones, RWD is a great option to cater to all screen sizes.

But what about if the most accessed pages are different because of user intent? RWD isn’t going to solve anything – the tasks visitors do on mobile phones will still not be front and center.

Solution: So the first rule is this: understand the context. Google Analytics, Site Catalyst and a host of other traffic monitoring solutions can show the difference between desktop behavior and mobile behavior. From there, you can review the most common tasks for mobile. Optimize for those tasks – give the elements required for those tasks visual priority, and make them dead simple to find.

Deadly Mistake 2: Not segmenting enough

Even when you understand that mobile tasks are different, there’s quite a bit of work left to do. Visitors using tablets behave radically differently than those using smart phones – some studies show that up to 70% of mobile sales come from iPads. You need to check if this is also true on your side of the fence – and act accordingly.

Solution: Segment by operating system, segment by device type, (phones versus tablets) look for common behavior patterns, and work on those that visitors need to do most. Transactions may be difficult to conduct on the Sony Xperia, but if only 4 people will benefit from that monthly, that problem can wait. Hundreds may be failing on iPads, though, and that problem needs to get solved sooner.

Deadly Mistake 3: Focusing on sales

Here’s the thing about sales – it’s a great metric. It’s so great that a lot of businesses obsess about it, to the detriment of measuring other things. But if you look at the mobile landscape, with some studies pegging sales conversions at 1% for the industry, you can’t think of the other 99% as failures. Some people are comparing prices, others are at an earlier stage in the buying cycle, and more still will eventually convert on another device if they are at their current task. If you don’t optimize the micro-conversions prior to the sale, you are limiting your pool of potential future customers.

Solution: Figure out the multiple conversions that happen for mobile visitors prior to the sale, and optimize the experience for those areas.

Deadly Mistake 4: Having the same funnel on mobile

This may seem obvious, but a lot of businesses fail to act on, or completely ignore, the relative weaknesses of mobile devices: input mechanisms. Entering information on a touchscreen is tolerable at best, and painful at worst, so having the same funnel on mobile devices that you do on desktops can amount to a massive failure.

Solution: Test using simpler forms to drastically streamline the funnel.

Deadly Mistake 5: Ignoring multi-device tracking and attribution

Some people use smart phones to check price lists, and then convert on a desktop. Some visitors will use mobile devices to compare options, and then convert on a brick and mortar store. Others still will use a phone for a quick glance at options, and eventually convert on a tablet. The point is that no single device is responsible for the sale at the end, but a lot of businesses only measure the last touch point before the sale. That approach leaves a lot of important steps un-optimized.

Solution: There are a number of viable approaches for multi-device tracking, although none of them are perfect. Figure out what works for you, and start connecting the dots.

The good news is that your competitors are also struggling with the very same issues. Mobile experience is a tough nut to crack. The bad news is that while you’re figuring this stuff out, your brand is already hurting. If you start testing for the right things on mobile devices, it makes it that much more likely that your potential visitors do not hurt for long.

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This article originally appeared on the Maxymiser blog April 6, 2014

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