Relative Mobile Conversion Rate

Google’s New Metric for Measuring your Mobile Website

Does your mobile website have a lower conversion rate than your desktop version? How much additional revenue could you gain if the conversion rate levels were the same? Google’s new metric called ‘Relative Mobile Conversion Rate’ helps you to measure your mobile site performance… or does it?  

This video breaks down ‘Relative Mobile Conversion Rate’, its limitations, and a better way to improve your mobile experience to grow website revenue.

Ecommerce websites, how much additional revenue would you gain if the conversion rate levels of your mobile website were the same as desktop?

In this short video, we’ll break down Google’s new metric for monitoring mobile website performance and we’ll take it a step further by isolating new ways and more advanced tips for growing mobile website conversion rates using Google Analytics.

What is ‘Relative Mobile Conversion Rate’?

Google recently published a post about the best way to measure your mobile conversion rate relative to your desktop conversion rate. Essentially the premise is to measure something that they call the ‘relative mobile conversion rate’, which is dead simple. Your relative mobile conversion rate is calculated by dividing the mobile conversion rate with the desktop conversion rate on your website. So, in this example on my screen, the conversion rate from mobile is 40% that of desktop. So that’s what you would call the ‘relative mobile conversion rate’.

Your relative mobile conversion rate is calculated by dividing the mobile conversion rate with the desktop conversion rate on your website.

Where Google is going with this: their rationale is that the mobile and the desktop conversion rates are influenced by the same parameters such as channel mix, campaigns, seasonality, and the website itself.

Isolating the mobile site experience 

If any of those parameters go up or down then the conversion would go up or down accordingly. Both for mobile conversion rates and desktop conversion rates. But, on the right-hand side of my screen, where you isolate the conversion rate from mobile conversion rate relative to desktop, it enables you to pinpoint and laser focus on the mobile website experiences itself. Meaning the user experience and the site speed on mobile. That will tell you that there may be areas of opportunity that you can optimise to increase the conversion rate for mobile specifically because there’s a bit of a gap opening up between the mobile conversion rate and the desktop conversion rate.

Limitations of ‘Relative Mobile Conversion Rate’?

Google believes that the concept of relative mobile conversion rate will help businesses with a high proportion of mobile traffic (which is pretty much everybody!) to identify issues that relate specifically to the mobile website experience.

It’s a simple concept that is it applicable in the real world?

The problem is that Google is making the assumption that, for mobile and desktop website experiences, the traffic distribution is the same. Now, for the majority of you out there, for the majority of you running ecommerce websites, that is simply not the case! Let’s say that you have a website that gets a lot of traffic from social media e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, all that good stuff. Now, we know that most of the traffic that comes from social media is on mobile. That means that, on your website, your mobile conversion rate is extremely sensitive to traffic from social media.

But if most of your desktop traffic comes from, let’s say, Google search then it makes NO sense to compare mobile conversion rates with desktop conversion rates because you’re not comparing apples with apples. You should NOT be comparing conversion rates when the traffic mix is completely different.

You should NOT be comparing mobile and desktop conversion rates when the traffic mix is completely different.

Let’s really break this down. Someone coming from Google search is probably a serious buyer. They’ve got serious intent to purchase because of the nature of the search keyword query on the Google search results page. In contrast, someone coming from Facebook is looking at pictures of cats on the Facebook newsfeed right before they saw your ad, clicked and then went through to your website. So the website visitor mindset, on arriving at your website, is completely different based on the traffic source and that has nothing to do with the website experience for desktop versus mobile.

Segment or die: a better way to measure the mobile site experience

What’s the bottom line? You have to consider mobile conversion rates in context and that context includes the originating traffic source. So since desktop and mobile traffic comes fundamentally different traffic distributions, what’s a better way to measure your mobile website performance?

1. Firstly, go deeper and compare each traffic source separately

2. Secondly, measure mobile and desktop conversion rates in isolation. Segment your reporting in Google Analytics based on device category. 

3. Thirdly, go deeper again and compare specific device browser combinations like iPhone 8 users, for example, or Samsung 7 users, etc., in order to super-segment different mobile device browser experiences and find out where those bottlenecks are occurring and then address them.

What do you think? ‘Relative Mobile Conversion Rate’, a good idea? Let me know. And if your website conversion rates are a challenge for you right now, reach out on LinkedIn or contact me here, I’d be happy to offer my ten cents’ worth to see what we can do to grow your ecommerce website revenue.

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