Almost 53% of the UK population now own smartphones which has resulted in the rise of touchscreen technology, 3G, and soaring tablet sales. This has sparked a surge in interest from big brand in all sectors looking for a solution to capitalise on the shift in users habits from desktop PCs and laptops to mobile devices.
Developing a mobile website is an important first step in capitalising on the mobile opportunity, but simply launching a mobile website obviously isn’t enough. Most businesses want to be mobilised to drive conversions.
There are some basic principles that need to be considered when devising your mobile conversion strategy:
1. Search and browsing behavioural patterns on mobile vs. desktop will differ
Mobile users find route of least resistance when browsing the web whereas desktop users are more likely to engage in heavy research before purchasing. For example, PPC on a mobile device is very heavily focused towards 1 or 2 word keyphrases, on desktop the long-tail rules.
2. Users need a simplified, but not content-lite site
Usability on mobile devices is much more in the public consciousness than it ever was for desktop browsing. Just because you want a mobile site that’s easy to use, even when you’re it doesn’t mean you don’t want key information about the product listing.
3. Mobile relevant calls-to-action aid conversion
This applies for your outreach work, users are much more inclined to click on your ads from a mobile device if it’s made clear to them they’re going to get a mobile specific experience. “Book easily on your mobile” has worked a treat for us
4. Page load time - spare a thought for those poor old customers who want to buy on the go!
Although this will become less important with the launch of 4G in late 2012/2013 it will be some time before a significant portion of the population will be 4G ready.
5. Device split landing page
Devil’s in the detail with this one. There are hundreds of different mobile screen sizes, each one with a customer behind them expecting you to have thought of them. We’ve got around this problem with our clients by building auto-resizing software which automatically fits the landing page or site to a users device, but this needs to be sure to be included in any site redesigns.
Don’t forget about tablets. Tablet users behave more like desktopers, mobiles very differently and show differences by operating system.
Paddy Power have done this well by moving away from their sports betting competitors, who all share the same platform, by building a proprietary cross-device platform specifically for their users:
Paddy Power Case Study (PDF)
6. A/B Split testing
If it’s good enough for your desktop activity it’s good enough for mobile. There’s no reason why multivariate testing shouldn’t be applied to a mobile website. In most cases given the fact that even the most minor details can have a dramatic effect on conversions in a mobile environment.