Why Do Mobile Users Not Buy On Mobile?

sam-struq“Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is by Sam Barnett, CEO at Struq.

Mobile users represent the most engaged set of users across all devices.

They click on ads more than twice as much as desktop users and the majority of online retailers see up to 50% of their web traffic come from the mobile channel.

So why does desktop have a 54% higher conversion rate on those ad clicks? It boils down to issues like privacy, convenience and functionality, all of which make it more important than ever to seek a unified view of the consumer.

Privacy Worries

With the likes of the NSA making headlines, privacy issues are always front-of-mind for online consumers. More than half of app users have uninstalled or decided to not install an app due to concerns about their personal information. With familiarity comes trust and, like desktop did, mobile devices still have to gain this trust.

Sequential Browsing

The average user will switch between devices 27 times a day and people often buy on the same sites repetitively and save their login information on their desktop. With countless sites come countless logins, and one part of the problem is simply that mobile users can’t remember which email address or password they used or just can’t be bothered to type in their card details on their phone with fat thumbs while walking along the street, so they wait until they are back on their desktop. For most users, switching between devices is seamless.

Accidental Clicks

Let’s focus on those fat thumbs for a second. The fact is that it is really easy to accidentally click an ad at the side of the screen or one that is embedded in a page.

These accidental clicks will inflate click-through rate metrics. This is yet another challenge with the new mobile user that the industry has tried to overcome. Some are starting to combat this by using time spent on site post-click, to influence attribution models.

While attribution models cover the back end the front end should also be focused on. Google, for instance, added a “Visit site?” pop-up to their mobile ads. Finally, for providers, ensuring they have relationships with good-quality publishers is key to guaranteeing that ads are not shown on poor-quality, poorly placed inventory.

App And Mobile Site Functionality

Given the high bounce rate for mobile traffic, advertisers should focus on their own sites’ functionality for mobile. Brand uniformity across devices is key. If you have a mobile site where users are accidentally clicking links or can’t find things, they will simply give up. About 41% of people turn to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience.

In 2013, only 57% of the top 100 brands had a mobile-friendly site. This lack of functionality is driving users to abandon their transaction. If the site is not optimized, it will load slowly on mobile, causing 57% of customers to abandon the site if they have to wait more than three seconds for it to load.

Brands need to understand what the mobile user is looking for from their site and deliver it. The mobile user is on the go. Their experience is made up of quick glances and snatched moments, creating a new journey to purchase.

Mobile Represents A Different Type Of User

It is at this point that we realize all the comparisons to the desktop user are not where we should be concentrating. Mobile and desktop are different channels with different purposes. Mobile is where a user starts their browsing due to the portability of the devices – consider that 22% of adults admit using their handset in the bathroom or toilet. It is a channel used to fill free time and it is up to advertisers to capitalize on this.

With such spontaneity involved in mobile purchases, it is important to understand mobile both as a tool that drives the user towards a purchase as well as one used directly for the purchase. It is now more than ever vital to have a unified view of users across devices.

Make your brand visible, make your site easy to use and drive your user toward their purchase, wherever they choose to make it.

Follow Struq (@struq) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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  1. Wonderful article! I’m a developer and I don’t use mobile to checkout 99% of the time due to functionality issues, it needs to be easier. It’s just hard to put in your credit card details on that tiny little screen (and it’s a pain). When the process is streamlined then I think mobile will convert just as well in my opinion.

    Speaking of mobile ad buys I was viewing a mobile site just the other day and while scrolling the ad filled up my entire screen, there was no way to scroll past without clicking the ad so I just closed the app because I didn’t want the company to billed for an erroneous click. Perhaps larger viewports will solve the problem? I’m not sure but this would contribute to the higher clickthroughs and lower ROI, but I’d like to see a conclusive study on the subject.

    Thanks again for the great article!

  2. Great article…Even in 2017 it gives a great overview of what to pay the attention to when building an online store. Cheers