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Mobile conversion optimisation: Eight tips to get you started

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4th Mar 2014
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Why split test? Websites that split-test are getting an increasing advantage over their competitors. By steadily increasing their conversion rate, they’re able to get higher returns for the same advertising spend and that means they can invest more in advertising and grow their market share.

This is especially relevant with mobile commerce. We’re at a stage where most companies will have a mobile version of their website. But a lack either of focus or understanding of the opportunity means that very few websites are split-testing their mobile sites. And as mobile commerce grows, companies that split-test have a huge advantage.

But mobile conversion optimisation is hard. It forces you to focus on priorities. With limited screen real estate, you need to ensure that your content is well structured, persuasive and accessible. 

Here are eight recommendations for users starting out with mobile conversion optimisation: 

  1. Start small and scale. Even if you don’t have a mobile or responsive version of your website, you can still optimise your mobile conversion rate. Choose one page (a high-traffic landing page works best) and create a mobile version of just that one page. Split-test this, so 50% of your users see the original, and 50% see the new version - then track the impact on behaviour. If you can see a significant increase in the conversion rate, you can build a business case for optimising the entire sales flow.
  2. Create mobile and non-mobile dashboards in analytics. If you’re using Google Analytics, it’s simple to build a report that shows your sales funnel across devices. Look for differences in behaviour between desktop, mobile and tablet, as these will often pinpoint the biggest opportunities to increase sales.
  3. Gather mobile-only qualitative feedback. Use on-site survey tools like Qualaroo to capture feedback from your mobile users. If you allow users to switch between a mobile and a desktop website, ask them why they’re switching - this will often highlight missing or broken functionality in your mobile site.
  4. Prioritise content with desktop heatmap. Tools like Crazy Egg will show exactly where your users are clicking on your desktop website. These heatmaps are ideal for prioritising content on mobile. As we have much less screen real estate, we need to ensure that the most valuable content and elements are towards the top of the page - and ideally above the fold. 
  5. Identify mobile personas and use cases. Mobile users often behave differently to desktop users - and that’s not just because of the device. They may have a different goal for their visit (and this can be revealed by the qualitative feedback in #3). For example, a flower delivery website may discover that mobile customers are significantly more likely to purchase same-day deliveries, meaning this content needs to be prioritised. 
  6. Conduct quick usability tests on mobile. Mobile usability testing is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get feedback. Services like usertesting.com will connect you with members of the public around the UK and US,who’ll video themselves using your website on their own phone.
  7. Sketch wireframes on the back of a business card. Business cards are a similar size to mobile screen sizes. So rather than sketching mobile designs on A4 paper, use a blank business card instead. It’ll force you to prioritise the content needed to convert users.
  8. Check out the competition. Websites like airbnb.com, target.com and homedepot.com are excellent at mobile conversion. Their focus on simple, accessible content with a frictionless checkout experience means they’re getting a significant advantage over their competitors. 

Stephen Pavlovich is CEO of Conversion Factory.

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