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Mobile Conversions on the Rise

21 Aug, 2013 By: Doug McPherson

NEW YORK – About a third of online conversions happen on mobile devices, says a new study by AOL and the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. And mobile conversion numbers are rising quickly – up 28 percent over last year.

The study examined the telecom, retail, auto and travel industries: telecom had the highest proportion of mobile conversions, at 37 percent; retail was next at 35 percent; auto followed at 22 percent; and travel finished at 20 percent.

Chad Gallagher, director of mobile at AOL Networks, said mobile’s 31-percent share of conversions was “much higher” than what he thought it was going to be, suggesting that proportion was about twice what might generally have been expected.

About 65 percent of conversions are happening on tablets. As for smartphone platforms, conversions were split evenly between the iPhone and Android-powered devices. Past studies indicate users are more likely to make purchases on tablets than smartphones. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of tablet owners will buy something on their devices this year, compared to 39 percent of smartphone users, according to eMarketer.

Ironically, most mobile ads are viewed at home and not on the go.

“The reality is, it’s mom, at night, with the TV on. When you change that image, it changes everything about how you think about mobile,” Gallagher told MediaPost. He added that marketers still often run desktop-centric campaigns, with a mobile buy tacked on. But if they’re focused on the PC instead of mobile screens, he suggested they’re simply throwing away money.

The findings are based on analysis of more than 500 billion online ad impressions served by AOL Networks between 2012 and 2013, and 100 million “conversion events” across all devices – mobile phones, PCs and tablets.

In a related study, mobile is also credited with getting more E-mails opened. A new eMarketer report says nearly one in three E-mails sent in North America during the first quarter of 2013 were opened, the highest number in recent history. Mobile device adoption and the use of marketing automation for targeted E-mails are having among the biggest impacts on E-mail performance.

Pam McAtee, senior vice president of digital solutions at marketing firm Epsilon, says mobile now accounts for 60 percent or more of all opens for most clients, and is expected to climb before plateauing at around 70 percent to 80 percent.

To drive greater engagement with E-mail, whether on desktop or mobile, companies are using marketing automation via triggered messaging. Triggered E-mails enable marketers to use automation to respond to a user-prompted action or behavior (e.g., abandoned shopping cart, confirmation, thank you or welcome response). Consumers opened one out of every two triggered E-mails in North America in the first quarter of 2013, according to Epsilon.

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