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August 15, 2013

Mobile Marketing Conversion Deficit Revealed In BrightEdge Report

The word monetization has become one of the most important terms for mobile service providers (MSPs) around the world. With Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) flat or falling and voice becoming a commodity or even free thanks to VoIP, the search is on to find sustainable new sources of revenue and hopefully profits. A major opportunity/challenge is to find the right mix that enables brands to leverage the exploding population of smartphones and tablets better.

The challenge for MSPs when it comes to the monetization of their services has been to close the gap between the conversion rates generated by content accessed via PCs and laptops, -- i.e., not over the mobile network -- versus converting those smartphone and tablet surfers who increasing are using their personal devices as their interaction platform of choice.  

With this challenge in mind, content marketing platform provider BrightEdge, has released Mobile Share, a report which investigates the current state of mobile content engagement.

BrightEdge tracked the business impact of mobile usage across 6,000 brands and analyzed more than 5 billion webpages to quantify how mobile performs against the traditional desktop in driving conversions. The report provides unique visibility into the market, new insights across industries and best practices for marketers.

Mind the GAP!

BrightEdge evaluated the growth of mobile as compared to desktop from H1 2012 to H1 2013. Key findings from the report are revealing.

Mobile traffic grew ten times faster than desktop. From H1 2012 to H1 2013, mobile traffic grew 125 percent while desktop grew a mere 12 percent.

Software/Technology, Financial Services and Real Estate lead mobile traffic. These industries experienced significant growth in mobile traffic when compared to desktop.

Mobile conversions lag behind tablet and desktop. It’s an even playing field for tablet and desktop, as both have nearly the same conversion rate. Mobile converts at a significantly lower rate: 0.3x desktop and tablet.

Video content drives conversions. Mass video consumption within the media and entertainment industry drives mobile conversions at a rate that exceeds desktop conversions: 1.6x. Other industries that convert relatively well on mobile include travel and hospitality at a rate of .7x desktop and eCommerce at a rate of .6x desktop.

“Despite rapid and continuing growth, mobile remains a largely untapped opportunity for marketers,” said Jim Yu, CEO and founder of BrightEdge. “Brands that learn how to leverage mobile and understand content on in terms of traffic, engagement and revenue stand to deliver staggering results in both customer loyalty and ROI.”

One area that provides food for thought— given the device manufacturer’s thirst to produce an endless number of device shapes and sizes to meet people’s perceived preferences and leave no stone unturned— is the finding that while tablet conversions are now equal to desktops, smartphones are lagging significantly behind.

It is that conversion rate gap, another way of saying missed monetization opportunity, that MSPs, OTTs, social media companies are focused on.   It is also an area of intense interest by brand stewards as they seek to maximize their reach and leverage the changes in the way buyers are using multi-channel interactions when engaging sellers.  

This latter point is exemplified by comments from Shahid Awan, global head of search at CheapFlights.com, who said, “More than ever, we are seeing a steady increase in mobile and tablet traffic…It’s extremely important for us to understand the impact of our mobile and tablet activities so that we’re fully prepared to take advantage of this traffic and achieve better business results.” 

This is non-trivial information. The financial analysts for instance are using mobile conversion rates as a key performance indicator (KPI) in evaluating the likes of Google and Facebook on the social side, and looking at the revenue streams that can be generated by MSPs as they engage deeper the entire mobility ecosystem.

BrightEdge concludes that, “Marketers should establish a match between the mobile form factor and content formats that render properly on that device and deliver a smooth user experience.” The results of their report certainly lend credence to that advice. A year from now it is very likely that the conversion rate gap will be directionally shrinking and possibly significantly. Let’s face it, there is a lot riding on that happening and fortunes to be won or lost in a marketplace that moves very fast.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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