Maximizing mobile device conversion rates

The art of mobile marketing

Mobile marketing is the art of marketing your business to appeal to mobile device users. When done right, mobile marketing provides customers and potential customers using smartphones with personalized, time-and location-sensitive information so that they can get what they need exactly when they need it, even if they’re on the go.”

In 2014, the number of mobile device users worldwide surpassed the number of desktop users for the first time. According to one recent report, users access the internet with mobile devices 40% of their time online.

Mobile marketing is growing rapidly

Though digital marketing gets all the hype, most CMOs know that advertising a company’s products and services is usually most effective with a mixed media strategy. However, marketing budgets now spend more on digital advertising than any other single venue. The average percentage of total digital marketing spending is projected to rise to 47% by 2020 ($129B). While investments in traditional advertising have dropped significantly every year for the past five, spending on digital marketing has increased yearly by double digit increments.

This begs the question–Which marketing strategies are most effective for different kinds of digital devices, ranging from desktops to smartphones? Without a finely tuned awareness of the advantages and challenges of each, your marketing initiatives will stagnate.

The average percentage of total digital marketing spending is projected to rise to 47% by 2020 ($129B)

My assessment is that demand for stationary devices will remain stronger than analysts believed a few years ago. Why? More employees are working remotely either as full-time employees or independent contractors. Also, stationary devices last longer than they did 10 or more years ago, with resulting reduced demand accounting for a significant portion of their 8% sales decline in 2015/2016. –So far, in 2017, PC sales have increased by .4% with a projected increase of 3% in 2018. While many users are now addicted to using apps on their smart phones and tablets, they will continue to rely on desktops and laptops to complete most of their work and probably most of their online purchases. Bottom line: make sure you have a responsive design website (one that is effective on all devices, whether mobile or stationary).

Basic considerations in developing a strategy

Only 12% of businesses in 2016 had responsive design websites. This lack of flow from desktops/laptops to smartphone viewing of marketing information significantly impedes sales of products and services. Let me add that OWDT has been helping companies improve overall sales with state-of-the-art responsive design websites for over five years. We begin by ensuring that all our websites have full mobile device functionality—incorporating the features I describe in this article.

You have a tremendous range of possible mobile marketing strategies. The indispensable foundation of any digital marketing strategy is tailoring ads for a smartphone, tablet, desktop, and other mobile devices to appeal to your current customers and any new demographic targets. Simplicity and efficiency are requisite, especially in the design of your mobile device website version. Any customization, however, must project consistent branding from one version of the website to another.

Pro tip #1 ‘Click to call’ old is gold

One of the best ways to maximize mobile conversion rates is something I recommended to Holiday Inn,
when we ran a campaign for them several years ago.

As you know, most people don’t want to fill out forms via their smartphones. It’s just too labor intensive. So we switched over to a ‘click-to-call‘ button. In other words, instead of filling out a form to reserve a room, we just had them click a button so that they could fill out the information with an operator.

It sounds basic, and it is, but ‘click-to-call’ buttons are a great way to improve mobile conversion rates

Jamie Turner is the CEO of 60SecondMarketer

Pro tip #2 Using visual content to increase mobile engagement

Understanding the evolution of the digital space is the best way to improve a brand’s engagement with their customers using mobile. In particular, the introduction of social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat highlights the evident shift from text to visual, i.e. images, GIFs, and videos. In order to engage their existing and potential customers, brands need to appeal to this change. Mobile engagement with a focus on visual, using an image recognition solution, is a great way to achieve this.

For instance, a brand can use one of their products to engage customers in a store using logo detection. A customer would be prompted to pick up a brand’s product and take a photo of their logo using their smartphone or another mobile device. This action would then take them to the brand’s website. Here, customers can access exclusive online content, such as new recipes or potential prizes to be won- all by simply taking a photo of the logo. This form of visual mobile engagement is a unique way for brands to not only maximize their mobile conversion rates, but also engage their customers from their offline products to the online space.

Anna Ní ChiaruáinContent Marketing Executive at LogoGrab

The challenge remains greatest for mobile device marketing. This is reflected in the significantly lower conversion rates for mobile devices compared to desktops/laptops. Of course, in parts of the world where smartphones are common, but home computers are not the norm, this isn’t a problem.

Why do mobile device conversion rates remain low for the ubiquitous smartphone in economically developed countries like the U.S.? People use their mobile devices sporadically through the day, primarily to catch up on emails, texts, etc. So, they may research a product on their smartphone briefly while at work, but wait until they return home to complete their product research before making their final product selection on their PC.

Pro tip #3 How video can maximize mobile conversion rates

Use video! Seriously –– that can’t be emphasized enough. The brands using video on the product pages are seeing higher than average mobile conversion rates. This is for a few reasons

  • They are found more often on mobile (Google’s mobile algo rewards video) and
  • Video is easier to watch/listen to on a phone rather than reading the text.

Other than that, be sure you are using a digital wallet or one-click checkout to allow for quick checkout. Amazon Pay is killing it right now for hundreds of stores. PayPal One Touch and Apple Pay are good solutions too. Even Visa has a solution: Visa Checkout. Using video will get people to the page and using a one touch checkout will make sure no barriers stand in their way. Win-win!

Tracey Wallace is the Editor in Chief at BigCommerce Blog

The challenges and opportunities

It’s an open secret that ISPs rely on software designed to addict people to mobile devices. This isn’t an exaggeration. The average person checks their smartphones 150 times a day– resulting in reduced work productivity and much less face-to-face social interaction. These issues are especially characteristic of Millennials. –The payoff for ISPs is increased advertising revenue, calculated according to the time users remain on an app or website.

By developing responsive design sites that are efficient and user-friendly, you do three things — (1) save your customers search time by giving them a quick, informative information on your products or services; (2) facilitate easier payment, thereby increasing your conversion rate; and (3) pull them away from their insidious apps, at least for a few minutes.

Sora Wondra from Braze adds, “Relevance is key for maximizing mobile conversion rates. When users feel known and trust your recommendations, purchases and subscriptions become easier. Respect their communication preferences and make use of user data to customize their experiences. Your goal is to be helpful at just the right time. Abandoned cart reminders are one of the best examples of this–you already know what the user is interested in buying and you’re just providing a timely nudge.”

-Sora WondraWriterBraze

What research reveals about mobile-device users

The average mobile device user tends to be younger (ages 15-25). They like to window shop and consume significant wide-ranging content. By comparison, desktop/laptop users are generally older (typically in their 30s and 40s), making purchases in a more focused way, and consuming less general content. That said people of all ages will use both stationary and mobile devices, depending on their immediate environment—but with different generational predispositions for how each device is used.
By comparison, desktop/laptop users are generally older (typically in their 30s and 40s).

  • Smartphone users go online with their mobile devices 150 times a day on average—in the workplace, public transportation, shopping trips, etc. This constitutes a marketing opportunity that will grow over time as smarter strategies are developed.
  • The analysis of millions of mobile sessions by a major research company shows that users go online as often during work hours as they do in their free time.
  • Smartphone viewing is often rushed because people are on the run, dealing with back-to-back meetings, travel, etc. Smartphone sessions are 1.5 times shorter than on other devices.
  • These challenges require that marketing content contain the right information delivered at the optimal time.

Pro tip #4  Constant engagement is the name of the game

When looking into maximizing mobile conversion rates, I’d say that when it comes to maximizing mobile conversion rates, research shows that placing fewer barriers between users and the point of conversion increases the likelihood of a conversion. This means developers should focus their attention on creating fast, seamless, and transparent transitions from offering a call to action to prompting an engagement, whether that engagement is checkout or clicking through to a new landing page. I think the OWDT’s homepage offers a fine example of this type of clear and direct funneling with its transition to the portfolio and case studies.

A great way to engage with mobile users from a landing page is to add another way for them to engage, such as a “Get In Touch” button to make for an even more conversion-oriented mobile experience. When it comes to maximizing mobile conversions, constant engagement is the name of the game.

Josh R. Jackson, Contributing Editor at Online Marketing Institute & Best Marketing Degrees

  • Retail conversion rates are currently only 0.7% on smartphones; 2.2% on tablets; PC conversion at highest, at 3.3%.
  • Users are connected to their smartphones from 7 AM to midnight.
  • Though smartphone browsing is brief, if your advertising is attractive enough, the user will return to the large screen version of your site when they get home.
  • Mobile devices have become indispensable to answering important questions on the fly and making decisions—usually based on consumer ratings and advice found on social networks.
  • Landing pages need to download quickly because the average user will wait for only a half-minute at most to access content.
  • Smartphone users scan and leap—taking 40 seconds on average to decide whether to leave a page.
  • Without the advantages of responsive design, users quickly lose patience.
  • Users are quickly scared off by error messages.
  • Browsing behavior on tablets is like that observed on desktops. By contrast, because people use smartphones on the fly, they require much quicker response times.
  • Smartphone users spend 80% of their time on apps that have very limited e-commerce potential.
  • Mobile advertising remains less expensive than desktop advertising.

Pro tip #5 Responsive Design is the key to success in mobile marketing

When it comes to increasing mobile conversions, I think brands really just need to remember two things.

  • Less is more. On such small screens, you don’t want to waste time on too many messages or things to do. Stick to the bare essentials of what is needed to prompt action — use large, easy to press (even with mittens!) form fields and buttons paired with concise but emotional and value-packed copy.
  • Put yourself in your user’s shoes. What would your journey typically be on your website on mobile? Where would you navigate and what would you want to do? Use these two simple rules to guide your mobile marketing strategy and you’ll be golden in 2018

G. Ramona Sukhraj, Content Marketing Manager of Impactbnd

Mobile marketing best practices

Because mobile devices have small screens–avoid clutter and excess words in your site design. Keep things simple. Make sure your viewers have easy access to your location information. Mobile advertisers may choose to optimize their mobile ads to within a specific distance from their location, depending on their customer reach.

Brittany Fleit from Leanplum adds, “At Leanplum, a mobile engagement platform, we help apps maximize conversions all the time. First, we recommend coordinating messages across channels (like push notifications and emails) to reach shoppers who may have added an item to their cart but forgot to check out. Try sending a personalized push notification an hour after they abandon the cart with a message like, “Hey [first name], don’t forget the [item] in your cart. Tap to check out now!” If they don’t respond, follow up the next day with an email. If they don’t respond to that, try offering some kind of incentive, like free shipping or a discount.

Then there are a number of things you can adjust from an app UX perspective. When users come back to your app to purchase, make it easy for them to convert with a seamless checkout flow. Some tips:

  • Offer a sign-in option with stored information from the last checkout
  • Add a progress bar if the process is lengthy
  • Streamline payment with a digital wallet or Apple Pay
  • A/B test all new changes against the original to continually optimize”

– Brittany FleitHead of Content Marketing – Leanplum

Pro tip #6  Mobile email must be visible clear and accessible

Especially on smartphone-sized email inboxes, conversion optimization is more than just making it look OK.

Clarity is key in mobile email; use responsive coding to minimize whitespace waste at the top, hide navigation items / bars or move them  to the bottom, hide links to web-only or reroute them to mobile-optimized versions and shift away from any third column  to maximum of 2 with many products, preferably one column if needed.

The biggest win, however, may come from somewhere different. A click in an email can use a cookie or device fingerprint to stitch together with the rest of the customer profile. Now you have identified your subscriber on mobile as well, leaving you with a much richer set of behavioral and intent data.

Jordie van Rijn is an email and automation consultant and founder of

Pro tip #7 Demonstrate mobile conversion rate by taking some Unique Step

At MOCA, location-based mobile marketing platform, we help apps to maximize mobile conversion rates by using these 3 tips:

  • Target the right users how often messages are delivered since there’s a fine-line with marketing for most brands between offering something potentially useful and being viewed as annoying. So, in order to avoid that, you should use Capping Rules. It enables you to establish target, schedule, frequency, and limits to your location-based campaigns.
  • Engage your customers with relevant content To truly engage your users and build meaningful relationships with them, you need to provide relevant content at the right time at the right place.
  • Measure and collect customer data to optimize performance- Go beyond campaign opens to see who is engaging with your campaigns and what actions your users take.

Elizabeth Goicochea, Marketing Manager at MOCA

If you’re a brick and mortar business, provide users with detailed information relevant to them generated by big data analytic tools. This usually includes the potential customer’s current location and customer profile information. You can then personalize the information to maximize its relevance for the person inquiring. One often effective option is offering discount coupons in real time.

  • Know your audience – The type of audience you’re hoping to reach should directly influence the kind of mobile ads you use. Are they gamers? If so, take advantage of in-game ads.
  • Experiment – Marketers are still exploring best strategies for increasing conversion rates on mobile devices. Google, for example, offers numerous tools including click-to-call extension and many other ad extensions.
  • Benchmark Your Results – As with A/B website testing, keep careful track of what works. The Ad Words Grader is one method for tracking the performance of your ads.
  • Keywords are important in mobile marketing – with a focus on location, use no more than three keyword phrases for mobile searches.
  • Catch the attention of prospects with special offers – By offering sales and special offers first on your mobile site, you can give customers the option of receiving push alerts with each new offer. This is among the best strategies for achieving a higher mobile site conversion rate.
  • Always include your contact information – If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, provide your address, an automatic call link, and a map that expands and contracts.
  • Ensure your mobile website works on all devices – including the newest devices coming to market.

Pro tip #8 Marketing with mobile-friendly social media network

Consider the entire customer journey to purchase. Perhaps prospects first hear about on their mobile-friendly social media network and then browse over to your website and download a piece of marketing content that answers a key question. Make all your ‘touchpoints’ on the journey to purchase mobile-friendly.

In particular, make your marketing content mobile-friendly. If your call-to-action is ‘download a whitepaper’, make sure that whitepaper is legible on SmartPhones.

Jane E MorganMarketing Consultant at JEM 9

Mobile site design requirements

Sophisticated mega sites like Facebook and Spotify demonstrate that mobile devices can give users virtually the same experience as they have on their home computer. Spotify, for example, gives users the same music options on their smartphone that they have on their home computer.

Users on mobile websites take 70% more time to finalize purchases compared with large screen sites.

  • Position your call to action (CTA) shopping cart at the top of the page. This will help reduce the likelihood that customers will leave your mobile site before completing the purchase.
  • It’s imperative that you make the payment process as simple as possible. The industry will eventually offer one-click payment. For example, Mastercard is working to develop payment by “selfie.” The mobile wallet is another development that will better meet the needs of customers and e-retailers.
  • Users on mobile websites take 70% more time to finalize purchases compared with large screen sites. This hesitation demonstrates the need to build trust and credibility with mobile device users.
  • Because mobile device users are rushed for time and impatient, always use a loading bar rather than a blank screen during the 2.8 seconds (on average) waiting time, so they don’t leap to another site.
  • Mobile users are twice as likely to scroll down the entire page because tapping and swiping make it easier and faster (1.6 times faster) on mobile than on a tablet. Smartphone ‘infinite scroll’ allows customers to create a wish list to track potential purchases from one device to another.

Pro tip #9 Take advantage of “Click-to-Text” in several places

Text messaging is the most used feature on smartphones, it’s the most used form of communications, and it’s the communications channel rated highest by consumers. That’s a trifecta of opportunity! So how can texting increase conversions?

Easy – with a button we call “Click-to-Text.”

Adwords now offers message extensions, Google now has a messaging feature for business listings, and there are 101 ways to put a Click-to-Text button on your website (it just takes a snippet of code and a textable phone number). What happens when viewers click the button?

It starts a text to your business, similar to how a click-to-call button would start a phone call. The difference is people would normally rather text you than call (or have to call a competitor). From working with thousands of people, we constantly see Click-to-Text options increase the number of leads businesses get. They also tend to convert into paying customers at higher rates, too.

Kenneth BurkeMarketing Director at Text Request

  • Provide a store locator functionality so that potential customers can visit one of your stores, perhaps on their way home, to evaluate and choose among products they’ve perused online.
  • Again, allow for push notifications to alert customers to special offers, which also helps you gain more information about them and their product preferences. Push notifications were a big deal a few years ago and remain valuable for this purpose.
  • Incorporate features that work on apps with high traffic, i.e., a simple user interface, and content tailored to the customer.
  • This approach can also increase the odds that a user will return to your mobile site (the probability of a customer logging in to their user account on their smartphone is now 2.9%; compared with 10.7% for desktop users).
  • Streamline account creation for mobile users to reduce the 16% probability that they’ll bail at this stage.
  • Make mobile site access easy for potential customers. Avoid asking them unnecessary filter questions. Also, facilitate the completion of forms by incorporating dynamic data validation.
  • Limit exit points by, e.g., using large product images to limit accidental taps that take a person away from your site. For the same reason, eliminate burger menus to avoid unnecessary back and forth navigation.

Pro tip #10 Importance of mobile friendly website

Now more than ever it’s important for businesses to make sure their site is mobile friendly. Not only does Google consider when they are ranking a website but it’s also important for converting visitors into buyers.

With more and more people looking for products and services on their mobile phones it’s important that your site gives them an easy to use, easy to read and easy to navigate experience if you want them to convert.

Austin Coulson is the President of ACU Web Inc.

Pro tip #11 Optimize the micro-yes to maximize mobile device conversion rates

People interact with mobile in a non-linear fashion. A little bit here. A dabble there. This is what Google calls micro-moments. To maximize your conversions, you need to think beyond mere mobile form factor – big buttons, responsive design, etc – and put yourself in the customers’ shoes during these behaviors. Think of each of these moments as an opportunity to achieve a micro-yes. What does the customer need in this moment? What else is going on in their life, even if it has nothing to do with your product? How can you speak to them in a way that will help them with what they need and get through those distractions?

Ultimately, you must understand all of the micro-yes(s) in the customer journey necessary to get to a macro-yes, or the ultimate conversion objective.

Daniel Burstein is a Senior Director of Content & Marketing at MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

Replicate some of the benefits of an app

While 80% of mobile time is spent engaged with apps, you don’t have to create an app yourself to get some benefits from them. Services like Google AdMob help advertisers create mobile ads that are uploaded to third-party mobile apps.

Facebook also allows advertisers to create ads that are integrated into Facebook’s mobile app. Facebook’s mobile Promoted Post ads integrate so seamlessly with Facebook’s newsfeed that users often don’t realize they’re looking at ads.

Pro tip #12  It’s all about local mobile search

  • Create a separate budget for mobile search. Make sure your phone number, address and email appear in results.
  • Claim your location on ALL the maps.
  • Be visible on search alternatives like Houzz, Yelp & TripAdvisor, or whatever platform serves your specific industry
  • Google says: use the term, “nearby”. 28% of searches for something “nearby” result in a purchase.

Rieva Lesonsky, CEO, President and Founder at GrowBiz Media

What Google offers?

  • Mobile image ads
  • Google adwords enhanced campaigns – Google relies on mobile ad revenue, so they have a strong incentive to improve the effectiveness of your mobile marketing.
  • Mobile site links – This extension is designed to help mobile users jump to specific pages on your mobile site.
  • Click-to-call mobile ad extension -This function places a “call” button directly beneath an ad that automatically generates a business’s phone number on a user’s mobile device. Make sure that this extension only appears during your business hours.
  • Google offers for mobile – allows advertisers to post a discount offer or coupon beneath their ad.
  • Click-to-download local ad extensions – Local ad extensions are probably the most important extensions for mobile because one-third of searches are for local business information. Local mobile marketing needs to be a key aspect of your mobile strategy.
  • Local mobile marketing extensions often involve a phone number or link to Google Maps

Pro tip #13 Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool

If your site isn’t as mobile-friendly as it could be, you can expect conversion rates on mobile devices to underperform.

So, use Google’s free Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool to quickly confirm whether your pages are mobile-friendly. The tool will also alert you to potential issues that may be impacting your mobile performance, making it easy for your development team to know what to fix (in case your site needs mobile optimization).

Ben SailerBlog Manager at CoSchedule


The smartphone’s addictive power is based on apps that are have limited e-commerce value. Though apps include ads, they will never generate improved conversion rates. Marketers who want to leverage the tremendous potential of the smartphone and other mobile devices need to design more efficient, user-friendly sites for mobile devices enhanced by Google and other extensions. Easier access to product information, more efficient payment systems and building consumer trust are essential to this process.

Marketers have gained valuable insights into the user experience with mobile devices. New opportunities will emerge as tech continues to improve and touch screen uses expand. However, three underlying imperatives will remain the same— (1) getting the attention of visitors, (2) facilitating the easy transmission of personal information, and (3) advancing towards more streamlined, secure payment.