Optimizing Your Digital Assets for Mobile

Mahir Erkan / December 2015

Mobile-first consumers these days expect answers at the tap of a button—literally. And if your mobile properties aren’t up to scratch, it’s time to start making some changes. Here are practical lessons from the APAC Performance Solutions team.

Mobile Lab Workshops are Google’s mobile bootcamp for brands. Together with a brand, mobile UX and measurement consultants dive deep into the brand’s mobile assets. After conducting a thorough audit, the Google team offers recommendations on how to optimize and then measure mobile assets effectively. Brands learn the importance of tracking user interactions across different devices and platforms. Brands we’ve partnered with have seen significant improvements in key metrics like conversion rate. To bring the basics of the mobile bootcamp to a wider audience, we’re spilling our secrets here, with examples of businesses across APAC that we’ve dubbed “Mobile Heroes.”

Creating mobile-ready sites

This year, Google improved the ranking of mobile-friendly pages to improve users’ mobile experience. This means that sites that are optimized for mobile score better on Google’s search rankings, and sites that aren’t optimized score, well, worse. To be considered “mobile-optimized,” sites need to have text that is easily readable (without needing to zoom), tap targets that are spaced appropriately, and pages free of unplayable content and horizontal scrolling. To check your site’s mobile friendliness, use this Mobile-Friendly Test.

As you’re building your mobile site, here are keys to keep in mind:

  • Load time (speed): If your site doesn’t load immediately, consumers will go elsewhere. Consumers have limited bandwidth, potentially high data costs, and little patience when it comes to site loading time.
  • Payment gateway: Consumers expect a seamless, easy-to-use payment system when they’re looking to convert on their mobile device. Make sure the experience is optimized regardless of device and browser width.
  • Minimize downloads: Consumers don’t want to wait for every component of your site to load. To ensure a smooth experience, consolidate and preload your mobile web content for larger but fewer downloads.
  • Test on a range of devices: Test your site on multiple browsers and devices to ensure it works seamlessly for all consumers.
  • Ensure your page content loads in a logical order: Consumers expect to be able to digest information instantly. Consider your page as a user would to proactively identify possible issues.

If your site doesn’t load immediately, consumers will go elsewhere.

Carlist built its mobile website with both buyers and sellers in mind. It understood that sellers are often out and about and need to get cars sold fast. It created a mobile experience so easy for sellers, including simplified forms and photo capabilities, that they could get a car listed on the site in 90 seconds or less. Check out the 25 Principles of Mobile Site Design for a detailed guide to mobile web dos and don’ts.

Building user-friendly mobile apps

A significant amount of time on smartphones is spent in apps. Here are some things to keep in mind as you’re putting together, or updating, your app.

  • Put user experience first: AliExpress is a great example of a company that built a mobile experience based on a deep understanding of its consumers. It created a mobile site designed for new consumers and tailored the app for loyal customers. On both properties, it ensured that important information like product prices, reviews, and photos of the products are always easy to access.
  • Integrate with other apps: Personalization is key for engagement, so apps need to be able to integrate with other popular apps as much as possible.
  • Smart notifications: Consumers tend to tune out or switch off notifications if they aren’t relevant or if they get too many. Set notification guidelines that make sense for your consumers. Then test and see what works.
  • Bring your app to life with material design: Applying a coherent visual language, such as Google’s material design, unifies your consumers’ experience across platforms and devices. Here is a more detailed set of guidelines to help you think through your app design.

Mobile pops up as a touchpoint all along the path to purchase.

Measuring your mobile channels

A significant challenge for many businesses is how to measure mobile’s effectiveness. Consumers today no longer use a single device, and mobile properties can pop up at any point of their purchase journey, making it difficult to measure every session that leads to conversion. As the team at Rakuten explains, it can be a matter of getting teams to think differently about mobile, and maybe to change KPIs to include measurements such as time on site, frequency of visitors (total visits), and conversion rates.

  • Segmentation: Current analytics can over-value desktop over mobile interactions. Consumer behavior differs on mobile, so comparing desktop traffic to mobile traffic doesn’t necessarily provide enough practical insights. To start, mobile internet usage is generally more frequent, but with less time spent per engagement. Consider analyzing groups of users by similar actions, like use of search engines, mobile app usage, and conversion.
  • Cross-device activities: Internet consumers tend to change screens (sometimes multiple times) along their research journeys. How mobile plays into their purchase journey can be measured by advanced cross-device tracking tools (such as Google Ads1) or user-id-related features (via Google Analytics). Tracking the multi-channel journey gives brands a better overall picture of consumers’ behaviors, and allows them to shape the user experience accordingly.

At Mobile Lab Workshops, we help businesses understand that mobile experiences aren’t only about e-commerce. Yes, seamless conversion is an important part of the consumer experience, but mobile pops up as a touchpoint all along the path to purchase. These interactions can lead to in-store, phone, or desktop conversions. Consumers expect easy-to-use, fast interfaces no matter where they are on the road to purchase, so be sure to delight them at all points along their journey.

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