According to Pew Research Center, 81% of Americans today own a smartphone, and mobile dependence is also on the rise. 

Emarketer predicts that by 2021, “mCommerce will account for 72.9% of the ecommerce market.” 

Like many other digital teams around the world, you may be scratching your head, wondering what you need to do to shrink the mobile gap for your business to see healthier conversion rates among your smartphone shoppers.

But instead of focusing exclusively at conversions, brands should take a closer look at their user journeys to gain an in-depth understanding of their customers’ behaviors.

Accessing this level of insight implies having the right tools and methodology, and in some cases, trading in basic or incomplete methods for next-gen solutions.

In this guide, we’ll explore why mobile conversions are having such a hard time catching up to desktop, and what metrics you can use in 2019 to make sense of (and correct) this discrepancy.

As ever, we’ll save the best for last with some concrete tips on how you can optimize your mobile or app experience today.

Let’s dive in!

Mobile Conversions vs. Desktop Conversions: What Gives?

Widespread mobile adoption means consumers now have the world at their fingertips. And yet, 37% of mobile sessions last less than one minute!

Evolving usage and the transformation of devices themselves have widened the gulf between desktop and mobile behavior. 

Even more so than on desktop, mobile browsing requires an intuitive, seamless navigation, fast loading times and a streamlined customer journey.

And yet many sites and apps are not conceived to meet the needs of this particular audience, which is often impulsive, impatient, and easily distracted.

The numbers speak for themselves.

Our study of 300 million mobile sessions shows that: 

  • Smartphone sessions are 1.5 times shorter than sessions on any other device (37% of these sessions last less than a minute!)
  • Mobile visitors spend 21% less time on the first page they land on. 
  • A mobile visitor has a 50% chance of bouncing after 5 seconds. 

Hence the need to put aside preconceived ideas and to ask the right questions: 

  • In what context are users browsing on mobile? At the office, during their lunch break? Waiting for the bus on their morning commute? Inside a mall? 
  • What is your customers’ intent? Are they hoping to buy or simply looking for information? Are they trying to locate the nearest branch of your store? Are they seeking out customer reviews? 


Customer Experience in 2019: The Era of “Micro-Moments”

What if the objective of a browsing session was not, in fact, a purchase? 

You heard right. There are as many mobile browsing objectives as there are situations, or “micro-moments.” 

And yet it is possible to group these micro-moments into phases, each presenting their own set of challenges for brands: 

  • I am discovering a product/service: can I get easy access to the information I need from the site? 
  • I am heading to a store to make up my mind: how am I advised and encouraged online to continue my journey offline? 
  • I’ve made my decision but I’m still missing some information: how does the site help solve my issues? Does it anticipate my questions? 
  • I’m completing my purchase on mobile: is the checkout optimized for my immediate context/circumstances? 

Giving each of these situations proper consideration goes against some of the preconceived ideas of eCommerce such as: every visit should lead to a conversion. This is simply not the case.

What if the information or free services featured on your site also needed optimizing? Not to encourage an immediate conversion, but to generate long term value.

If you ignore these micro-moments and focus all your efforts on those visitors who have already decided to complete their purchase online, you risk missing out on many conversion opportunities in the long haul.

The Right Metrics for the Right Conclusions

We now know that the user journey on mobile is peppered with micro-moments that should be considered individually. 

But how do you shine a spotlight on these moments, which may vary greatly depending on your vertical, your positioning and your offering? 

A traditional site analysis, bolstered with A/B tests based on practical use cases (or sometimes even on intuition) may at first glance appear to be the perfect answer.

And while many businesses have relied on the numbers provided by these analyses for years, teams now have access to much more sophisticated UX analysis tools to understand the behavior and goals of their digital audience.

Basic metrics such as conversion rate, bounce rate, session duration and number of pageviews remain critical to understand user journeys.

But why stop there?

In the following paragraphs, we’ll look at four new metrics that can help teams better understand the nuances of customer behavior.

Click recurrence:
Click recurrence is the number of times a user clicks on a specific in-page element.

This metric is incredibly useful because it sheds light on user frustration, due to:

  • Bugs and glitches
  • A confusing CTA
  • An unclear design that led the user to believe an element was clickable when it wasn’t

Activity rate:
The activity rate, a metric that measures the time spent interacting with specific in-page elements, is less frequently leveraged. 

And yet it’s much more useful to understand how long visitors spent trying to achieve a specific task than the time if took them to exit your site… 

Many businesses routinely monitor how long visitors stay on the pages of their site. This metric is useful to determine how helpful these pages are for visitors trying to fulfill a particular objective. 

Engagement rate:
The engagement rate measures the percentage of visitors who clicked after having hovered over a zone.

By analyzing the engagement rate on a CTA, you can understand the impact of each and every one of your changes (wording, positioning, etc) on conversions and other behaviors.

In short — a goldmine! 

Time before first click:
The time between the moment when the visitor lands on a page and clicks on an element is an extremely important value.

That’s when your visitor will form an impression, absorb the information you have provided and make a decision about their next action.

Time before first click can convey a lot of information about how a visitor feels about your site. 

For example, a short time before first click can indicate that visitors are distracted by certain elements or are being encouraged down the wrong path.

A long time before first click could indicate that the forms or features on a page are too complex to navigate, and are obstacles in the customer journey. 


How to Optimize the Mobile Experience to Increase Conversions?

Are you not convinced of the effectiveness of your landing pages? Now would be the time to take a closer look.

Our research shows that visitors who start their navigation on a product page spend less time on-site than those starting their journey on any other category of page. 

Presenting the right content at the most opportune moment is key if you want to enjoy a healthy conversion rate. 

The first thing to do is to make sure the content of your landing page is relevant to the message in your acquisition source (SEO, SEA, social, etc).

Here are some other good practices you can follow to maximize engagement on your landing pages.


Challenge: is it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for?

Solutions :

  • Simple and clear CTAs
  • Crystal clear brand/product positioning
  • Clear displays of the site’s main categories
  • Reduction or riddance of moving slideshows,
  • Fewer or no popups


Challenge: is it easy for users to browse what interests them?


  • Easy access to cart
  • CTAs above the fold,
  • Product availability (online and offline),
  • Dynamic/accordion menus.


Challenge: is the checkout process seamless?

Solutions for an improved cart:

  • Make it easy for users to edit carts
  • Allow users to remove items easily
  • Suggest other relevant products after add-to-cart

Solutions for checkout:

  • Offer secure payment options
  • Enable guest checkout option
  • Allow users to log in through social/email
  • Include multiple payment options (Apple Pay, Google Pay…)
  • Clearly label CTAs
  • Enable “click and reserve” and “wish list” features
  • Leverage mobile payment solutions

While our recommendations focus on specific use cases, an effective mobile optimization strategy requires continuous monitoring of all aspects of the customer experience.

Any improvements to the mobile experience need to keep up with the pace of usage, and with the real-time needs and expectations of your smartphone audience.

To help teams gain a complete understanding of their customers, and to pinpoint the obstacles or frustrations along the user journey, we’ve developed a unique set of metrics that measure customer engagement and interactions at every step of the journey.

Equipped with this level of customer intelligence, teams have everything they need to make winning CX decisions and remove friction from their mobile site and app.

If you’d like to know more about your customers, or if you want to see where they struggle on your site, give us a call and we’ll be happy to show you.

We’ll be happy to show you!