Consumers are now using smartphones at every point in their customer journey to engage with businesses. Almost half of all U.S. consumers now turn to mobile to access financial services, search for real estate, engage healthcare providers and shop. However, business performance in the mobile channel has disappointed. Average mobile conversion rates are 70 percent lower than desktop, contributing to a substantially lower customer lifetime value.
At Moovweb, we like to think of page performance along six dimensions: speed, responsiveness, searchability, content, conversion and usability. When we assess an existing mobile experience, we use this checklist as a starting point for identifying quick opportunities for performance optimization:
1. Speed: Cellular mobile networks don't behave simply like slower versions of broadband networks. Each individual network request has a much higher initial response delay than landline broadband. And every individual image, video, script, style sheet and font generates its own request! That means it's far more important to bundle and combine page contents into as few files and images as possible than it is on desktop. Using the same technical strategy as for desktop isn't enough.
2. Responsiveness: Many brands’ mobile sites are using responsive designs that reflow the same content as the desktop site into new layouts. However, reflowing layout should be just the starting point for your mobile page strategy. Images also need to be explicitly "pre-sized" for various mobile screen sizes, and where possible their compression level should be lowered to save bandwidth. In addition, pages need to have separate tablet and phone layouts. In some cases, we've even found that serving tablet-style pages to larger phones converts best.
3. Searchability: Mobile pages need to be correctly configured for the best search ranking. This could include pointing Google back to the appropriate desktop page for indexing (i.e., a canonical link). Google has also updated its algorithm to promote pages that are mobile-friendly over those which are not. Based on our best data, we saw about 10 percent of listings being dropped from the first page of search results as a consequence of this Google update.
Ajay Kapur is the CEO and co-founder of Moovweb, a cloud-based platform that delivers optimized mobile experiences.
The Moovweb Experience Delivery Network (XDN), Moovweb’s flagship product, is an enterprise platform-as-a-service that enables sub-second React websites. Ajay has been involved with smartphones since before the launch of the iPhone. The prior company he founded published apps downloaded by tens of millions of users. Before that, Ajay invested in startups for Goldman Sachs.