mobile conversion rate optimization

Ready for Mobile CRO? Marketing’s New Optimization Science

Dan Engel Commentary

Last Updated October 25, 2016

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Now that mobile’s massive gains in key online areas such as consumer product researching, local search and online purchases have grabbed the attention of marketers, we’ve moved beyond the basics of deploying responsive web design and ensuring mobile friendliness.

It’s all about elevating mobile conversion rate optimization.

No wonder AWA digital CEO Dan Croxen-John declares, “2015 is the year of mobile CRO (conversion rate optimization).”1 And digital design maven Tom West of Springbox argues, “We need to be all over mobile CRO.  Every digital marketing manager worth their salt will soon be embracing this cutting-edge marketing science and its promise of major gains.”

The Magic of Mobile CRO

The magic of CRO, of course, is how it can massively boost conversions without increasing spend and hence lift revenue (both this year’s and long-term from the lifetime value of the customer). CRO, thus, has the ability to drastically slash CAC (customer acquisition cost ratios).

“If you can double your conversion rate,” Stewart Rogers explains, “you halve your customer acquisition cost. If each customer has a lifetime value of $1,000, and doubling your conversion rate leads to an additional 200 customers per year, the return on investment of your CRO tool is a whopping $200,000 return from a $6,000 spend.”

Isn’t That Ironic?

Don’t television screens seem ever more humongous, ever more state of the art? They’ve got 1080p resolution and 60Hz refresh rates for stunning HD images, built-in surround-sound and are wired with HDMI and Bluetooth for maximizing programming choices.

But here’s the irony: mobile devices are grabbing more viewers and dominating the share of streaming TV programing and videos in 2015. That’s right – from 9 PM to midnight, the mini screens of phones and tablets claimed 47% of television streaming, while computers took 17%, leaving 36% for the giant plasma screen.

But, of course, mobile is dominating more than TV streaming. Mobile is now a major-league player in online commerce and a key business tool for grabbing prospects by the collar. In 2015, mobile took 52% of the online shopping time, even as it racked up major gains in closing sale. eMarketer reports mobile grabbed 31% of order shares in Q2 2015.

Testing Over All

Web masters worldwide are embracing the potent methodology of CRO with its data-driven results. Indeed, 62% of digital marketers declare they will be conducting the essential A/B test this year seeking ways to improve their websites’ performance as compared with 57% in 2013.

And WhichTestWon declares that “94% of this year’s [marketing] respondents stated that split testing delivered big or moderate results for their business.”

Top Targets for Mobile Conversion Optimization

Mobile conversion optimization strategies, in contrast to website CRO, must pay special attention to:

  • Speedy load times
  • Short, clear titles and simplified navigation
  • Buttons that are easy to use
  • No missing graphics or videos
  • Key info appears above the fold line
  • Text and images legible on the small screen without the need to scroll
  • Device optimization – Check render by device type and size to make sure it is meeting your objectives.
  • Clear call to action
  • Unique mobile use cases (directions to your store)
  • Pre-populated fields (phone number & address where possible)
  • Easy support – simple one-click dialing to reach customer service team

Mobile CRO vs. Web

As the above short list of key mobile optimization targets suggests, mobile optimization tactics may diverge from website PC optimization. Worse and more worrisome – what works for a website on desktops may in fact decrease conversions on phones and tablets, a defect that can seriously injure revenues if not identified fast. The two online platforms need to be fine-tuned separately.

That’s the hard lesson digital agency AWA learned recently when it tested innovations to a client’s homepage – a major UK pet supply outlet. Its CRO tests logged an impressive uplift in sales of 21.7%. But when the metrics for PCs and mobile devices were disaggregated, the gains on PCs were even more noticeable at 34.7%. Mobile, in contrast, was revealed to have experienced a 6% falloff in conversions.

Getting the Data You Need for CRO

Evidently, metrics and in turn CRO tactics for websites on desktops and on mobile need to be considered individually. Fortunately the analytics supplied by Google allow you to review your website’s performance on PC separately from mobile. Moreover, online tools like Mobilizer not only separate mobile metrics from website, but they also offer even finer grain per-device metrics to ensure your mobile CRO strategy does not misfire on major phones and tablets. Both Google Analytics and Mobilizer’s data are useful if your testing metrics are concealing significant divergences among platforms and devices.

Why the Platforms Diverge

The reason for this split is simple – mobile users’ context and purpose typically vary from those of desktop PCs, not to mention the contrasting functionality and strengths of desktop widescreen computers and mobile pocket phones.

On tablets and phones:

  • Real estate is scarce.
  • Attention is limited.
  • Mobile users are very goal directed, typically seeking a key piece of information that will help them achieve their purpose.

Given diverging UX, blanket alterations to a website may definitely have a different impact, and therefore one needs to disaggregate the metrics for mobile to check.

In our next blog post, we consider the best tools to surcharge your mobile conversion optimization efforts.

In the meantime, why not take a fast, up-close look at your website and the experience of mobile visitors? With a free trial of Mobilizer, you can easily inspect your website’s display across 15 actual smartphones and tablets within seconds – right from the convenience of your desktop.

  1. AWA digital, A Peep into the Future of Mobile Conversion Rate Optimisation
  2. eMarketer, Mobile TV Streaming More Likely at Night
  3. eMarketer, Smartphones Still for Browsing More than Buying
  4. Venture Beat, 3,000 marketing pros reveal the best conversion optimization tools
  5.  AWA Digital,8 takeaways from the 2015 State of Online Testing report
  6. AWA digital, A Peep into the Future of Mobile Conversion Rate Optimisation


Mobile1st is the company behind Mobilizer, the mobile optimization platform. Mobilizer helps companies increase revenue and engagement by enabling them to see exactly what their mobile users see, quickly identify display issues, monitor metrics by device, and optimize the mobile customer experience.