Mobile Usability Case Study and Conversion Rate Optimization

Author: Gab Goldenberg

This is a guest post by Stephen Croome of buyaniPad.com; his bio is below.

A baseline for mobile growth

Real numbers and our plan going forward:

There is a lot spoken on the growth of mobile but not much actual data shared. SEOmoz recently posted trends for mobile in 2011 and I thought I would contribute to the discussion with a baseline for expected mobile growth based on real sales data.

I have included data from two very different but high traffic sites. One is a pure play commercial sales site, and the other is a site that is purely informational. Neither have a mobile version of the site although both websites display fine on smartphones.

Hopefully this information helps people make better projections for their own clients. I encourage you to share real data so we can build a better picture of where the next few years’ growth is going come from.

UK sales site’s revenue from mobile devices

Conversion rate for mobile devices:

mobile conversion rates by device

Click to enlarge

You can see I found an error in how Blackberries interact with our site, 0.08% conversion rate is far too low. Analytics ftw!

On digging into the problem I found it was merely that Blackberrys seem to be terrible for buying date and price intensive things online. I sat with a colleague and I bought a ticket on my iPhone 4 in about 2 minutes and he just gave up after 5. So, not all smart phones are equal!

The iPad conversion rate looks way ahead of handheld mobiles. Is this going to be an emerging theme – larger devices converting better than smaller? It makes sense to me but we will know when more players like the Galaxy Tab filter into the market.

Growth in mobile sales with projection:

mobile sales growth projection

This growth looks amazing and I think that when we look back at the end of the year, the growth that I’ve plotted is likely to be conservative.

However, let’s not get carried away just yet:

mobile sales as a percentage

As a % of overall revenue, mobile sales are still small.

UK information site

This site has no sales, just public information. Warning: These projections are rough and ready due to the volatility of their traffic.

Visit data for mobile devices:

mobile visit data by device

When you look at the visits by device data, you see more pages per visits and lowest bounce rate on the iPad. Other devices have a high average time on site but a low pages per visit and a high bounce rate.

I would suggest this is because people have more difficulty using the site on mobile devices and less on the iPad. Mobile is growing, but it still has form factor challenges to overcome.

Growth in mobile visits with projections:

mobile visit growth and projections

However, let’s not get carried away just yet…

mobile visits as a percentage of total sales

As a % of overall visits, mobile traffic is still small.

Mobile health tips

Whatever the level of buy-in to mobile in your organisation, there are a few universal tips that will serve you well
• Share your knowledge with your clients
• Have an opinion on mobile and a plan (even if it’s not likely to be actioned immediately)
• Push for mobile best practice, at least a simple mobile version of your sites
• Stay on top of the data, make sure you can clearly measure mobile sales and interactions on your sites

About Stephen: I’m a SEO interested in getting companies to re-engineer their products and processes to market themselves. I have some test sites that need some love www.buyanipad.com where I look at spam and www.purehairstyle.com where I look at the peculiarities of image search and generating impressions per visit. In my spare time I dream up marketing ideas like www.startupbeanbags.com.

You can follow me at your own peril at seomoz or @firstconversion

If you liked this post, you should also check out this post on mobile landing pages and my conversion rate optimization service.

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Comments

  1. Great write up Gab, very interesting! Thanks for sharing your data - I wish I had some for you in return. Best, Dan

    Comment by Dan - April 13, 2011 @ 3:22pm
  2. Thanks Dan You can see in the variance data that even with these very large sites, you still need a heck of a lot of data to get trustworthy numbers out. Hopefully we can get some people from large site to confirm or compare this data with their own, even if they cant share openly S

    Comment by stephen - April 14, 2011 @ 4:01pm
  3. It would be very interesting to find out how the sites conversion changes after a mobile-friendly version was implemented. The assumption is that people don't convert because the site isn't mobile-friendly, but there could be other factors.

    Comment by Jake - October 13, 2011 @ 12:37pm
  4. Excellent bit of critical thinking there Jake. Generally, this shows that mobile versions will lift conversions, assuming in the first place that browsers are willing to buy from their mobile handsets and that the rest of the site is persuasive enough.

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - October 14, 2011 @ 10:36am

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