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Is it the screen size... or the audience?

Before you blame the size of the screen, here's what you outta know.

It must be the smaller screen, right?

Cart abandonment has been consistently higher on mobile. That, and the conversion truth - that desktop conversion rate trounces its smaller screen peer - has been a reality for the last decade.

And, many have pinned the blame on the screen size, or a derivative rationale, like ‘it’s harder to research on phones.’ And that may be a partial reason.

A more likely  - or impactful - reason: how we use our phones. Tl;dr - shoppers are far LESS intentional when swiping and tapping on the device that is omnipresent.

Phones fill our hollow moments. On the couch. Waiting to pick up a child. Standing in line. During a meeting. Watching another screen (ugh - dual-screening).

Just check your screen time stats (I’m a bit repulsed by mine). In particular, the number of PICKUPS jumps out - its likely a bigger number than you’d like to see.

And, the leading screen time and pickup culprits: social, email, and messaging/texting.

The nature of the traffic from these sources is more reactive - and lacking prior intent - compared to paid and organic search, direct, and affiliate traffic. Mobile sites see a far higher share of reactive shopping visits than desktop. Thus, seeing strong early-journey metrics (traffic share, cart rate) is not surprising on mobile - and neither is the lower conversion rate.

So, if you really want to understand the WHY behind outcomes like abandonment (and conversion, and bounce for that matter), you need to understand the context and origin.

Simply looking at device splits isn’t enough.

Neither is looking simply at channel splits.

A combination is better - device/channel performance will provide more guidance about how shoppers are behaving. Better still, layer in visit frequency and recency to get a more informed read on traffic (and outcomes).

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