Are Smartphones Bad at Conversions?
Tablets are winning.
At least that's what it looks like if you've been keeping score. Adobe and Monetate generally agree on about a 1 percent conversion rate on smartphones, and an over 2 percent conversion rate on tablets. The idea is that smartphones, with their slower connections, more restrictive screen size and (currently) underpowered hardware, are at a distinct disadvantage compared to desktops and laptops, or even to their cousins, tablets.
Of course, the real story is much more complicated than that.
The thing to think about is the other 99 percent. Those are not all failures. Some of those people are comparing your price point to those of your competitors. They'll look like failed attempts at conversions, but some of them will convert at your brick-and-mortar store, and some of them will convert on your website using other devices. Conversion is tricky like that — not all conversions are sales.
It's All About the Task
Don't misunderstand, sales on smartphones are nice. However, before you get to that point, you need to first understand what people are trying to achieve on mobile phones. On Google Analytics or KISSMetrics, you can check if different pages and functions are being accessed on smartphones compared to tablets, desktops and laptops. Survey software like iPerceptions can tell you what people are looking for when they're using certain devices, as well as how successful visitors are at finding what they need.
The point is that before you start optimizing the experience on smartphones, you need to do the math. Using different tools, you need to understand the following:
- the difference between smartphone use and laptop/desktop/tablet use on your site;
- the tasks consumers are trying to perform on smartphones;
- where visitors fail the most when they use smartphones; and
- where mobile use intersects with things that generate revenue.
Once you know those things, you'll be able to prioritize your optimization efforts on smartphones.
Tim Ash is the author of the bestselling book Landing Page Optimization, and CEO of SiteTuners. 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.
Connect with Tim on Google+