Photo credit: Phillip Brooks, Flickr

Getting mobile commerce right: what you should know

by Adam Foroughi on May 1, 2014

As a marketer, you’ve probably heard that mobile advertising is the future. Your dilemma? The numbers don’t add up. Despite a 55% surge in information consumed on mobile, transactions on mobile only account for 15% of online revenue.

These kinds of stats contribute to the myth that people rarely make purchases from their mobile devices, a problem compounded by the fact that mobile purchases are hard to track.

So what’s the real truth? And why is this so complicated? Let me explain…

Mobile purchases are a big deal – and they’re going to get bigger

People are transacting on mobile in a major way, and those numbers are continuing to grow. In 2013 alone, mobile commerce increased by 63%. Chris Warden of Convince and Convert says that 4 out of 5 consumers use their smartphones to shop – and mobile usage is set to overtake desktop by the end of this year.

That’s right: Your customers are using their mobile devices to make purchases. In fact, they’re probably buying something on a tablet or smartphone right now.

So what’s stopping you?

While mCommerce is growing, it’s clearly behind when it comes to transactions – that much is true. But when we take a closer look, a more complicated story starts to emerge, one that indicates that people want to make purchases on mobile – but they continually run into obstacles. According to research from MoPowered, 30% of mobile shoppers abandon a transaction if the experience is not optimized.

Mobile users get frustrated by bad user experiences – and then they give up. By making it easier and more rewarding for customers to make mobile purchases, brands can gain a competitive edge.

Build a better mobile experience

Building a high-quality mobile experience is imperative – without it, mobile commerce is a non-starter. Here are five things that make a good experience:

  1. Built for mobile. The best experiences are optimized for mobile devices.
  2. Designed for individuals. Marketing that gets personal is far more effective.
  3. Aware of location. Delivering value at the right place and time is key to good results on mobile.
  4. Never stale or boring. Fresh approaches that integrate customer feedback get better results.
  5. Designed with data in mind. Mobile experiences can be improved with good analytics that reveal what’s working and what’s not.

Engage customers and drive purchases

A good experience drives app installs and makes that first purchase an enjoyable one. But what’s next? You need to take it even further, encouraging your customers to take action and engage with your app regularly.

For that, you need to learn what your customers need – each one of them, individually – and what they’re likely to purchase. Look at customer behavior – such as what they’ve purchased before, and what they are interested in.

Then, leverage mobile advertising to deliver meaningful ads. As mobile advertising becomes more sophisticated you can make intelligent predictions and serve valuable ads that drive your customers to transact on mobile.

The takeaway

Brands that invest in making mobile an optimized experienced will prosper on mobile. We see it every day. Despite the aggregate data that is publicized, we have very large commerce companies we work with who are seeing over 50% of their revenues come from mobile. When they weren’t optimized for mobile the numbers were much lower. These companies invested in optimizing their sites for mobile and/or built apps. Their consumers are now comfortable buying from them on phones and tablets, even more regularly than desktop.

Our platform helps brands increase the likelihood their customers shop with them on mobile. But, it only makes sense to spend money on innovative mobile marketing opportunities if you’ve already invested into your user experience. We expect that over the next few years the mobile revolution will reach its full potential as the major brands around the world heavily invest in this unparalleled opportunity.

Adam Foroughi is AppLovin’s CEO.