New year’s resolution #1: improve your mobile experience

By January 9, 2014 Featured Post, Guest blog, m-commerce

Amy King EvidonAs we all take stock of another successful holiday season, Amy King,  MEF Member and VP of Product Marketing at marketing intelligence company Evidon  assesses the increasingly crucial role of m-commerce and shares tips on how to improve your business’ mobile website and app performance.

Press outlets are already proclaiming the global success of the m-commerce holiday season, which saw a 43% increase year over year. The revenue lost to poorly performing mobile websites and applications presents the greatest risk to m-commerce success but too often goes unmentioned. So as we enter the new year, here are several ways to improve mobile website and application performance, and, as a result, increase company ROI, build brand loyalty and capture the mobile shopping shift.

Common sense may dictate that the mobile experience is going to be slower than the desktop, however, this is not what consumers expect.  Even as users anticipate two second or faster load times, m-commerce sites average page load times of eight seconds or more – a rift complicated by the many factors that lead to a slow mobile experience. Over 74 percent of users say they will abandon a mobile webpage or application after waiting five seconds for the page, or a key element on the page, to load (Gomez 2011).

In their efforts to capture better cross-platform re-targeting, greater mobile customer spend, and more efficient campaign performance, brands and publishers continue to place an ever-increasing number of tags across their sites. While these tags deliver great value for the site owner, they can slow pages down and impact user experience when not properly managed. This is a particular problem in mobile, where proper tag control is rare but every millisecond of improvement translates to more sales.

Our first recommendation for improving mobile performance is to know your vendors.  This may seem obvious, but we find few m-commerce companies know all of the vendors running tags through their mobile sites and applications. Ad technologies are often brought to a website by another 3rd party, creating a web of tracking that cannot be seen by the website owner. Any successful data management strategy starts with knowing who may be contributing to your page latency, how they got to your pages, and the performance of their tag.

“Once you have a streamlined user experience, faster sites, and a clear mobile data strategy, you will see greater ROI and a more loyal customer base”

Second, maximise the speed of your homepage and key landing pages by minimising the number of tag calls as much as possible.  The best way to do this is to reduce both the size and the number of elements that must load on each page. The better streamlined your key pages, the faster they will load for your user, regardless of mobile device, browser or other variable.

Third, now that you know which third parties exist across your mobile experience and you have streamlined your key pages, develop a mobile data strategy that is based on the needs of your consumer.  What does each customer need to see in order to make a purchase? What data do you need to collect in order to both bring more customers to your site and to ease their shopping activity? Focus on e-retail success and weigh the importance of each vendor accordingly.

Once you have a streamlined user experience, faster sites, and a clear mobile data strategy, you will see greater ROI and a more loyal customer base. As an added bonus, you will also see improved SEO since Google factors mobile latency into their search algorithms. So use your post-holiday quarter to improve performance and welcome happier mobile shoppers for 2014.

Amy King is VP of Product Marketing at Evidon. Follow Evidon on Twitter.

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