With website builders making it easier than ever to optimize websites for mobile devices, it’s no surprise that many businesses are paying particular attention to mobile optimization. And with good reason, too. In recent years, mobile websites have received more traffic globally than their desktop counterparts.
Yet traffic volume is only part of the equation when it comes to website success. How much of that traffic converts into valuable action and sales also plays an important role.
In this article, we’re going to explore the differences in conversions between mobile and desktop websites. We’ll offer some specific tips that you can use to improve conversion rate on each platform.
Desktop conversion rates aren’t all that difficult to understand. They’re simply the percentage of people who visit your website via a desktop computer that then take valuable action such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.
For example, if 5000 people visit your desktop site every day and 50 of them make a purchase your conversion rate would be calculated as follows:
(50 / 5000) x 100 = 1%
Typically, conversion rates are higher on desktop versions of a website than on their mobile counterparts. Statistics from 2021/2022 show this, with desktop conversions consistently reaching 1-2% higher than conversions on mobile.
This increased conversion rate could be down to several reasons. For example, desktop websites offer more space, which can make it easier to create streamlined user experiences. Desktop sites will also often have increased functionality and offer more detailed levels of information. This makes it easier for customers to find what they need and ensures that they move more smoothly through the conversion funnel.
Arguably, visiting a website on a desktop can also indicate higher buyer intent. This is because mobile devices are often browsed casually during downtime. In contrast, visiting a site on a desktop often shows a deliberate pursuit of deeper research or a commitment to buy.
Mobile conversion rates use the exact same equation as conversion rates on desktop, except – you guessed it – it accounts for conversions on your mobile device, instead.
For example, let’s say 6000 people visit your mobile site every day and 50 of them make a purchase, your mobile conversion rate would be:
(50 / 6000) x 100 = 0.8%
Statistically speaking, mobile conversion rates tend to be 1-2% lower than conversion rates on desktop sites. This could be due to several reasons such as limited screen space making it trickier to develop comprehensive customer experiences.
Mobile devices also offer more distractions, with countless apps (for example, social media) just a click away. This often draws people away from mobile sites when any friction is experienced, such as slow load speeds or issues with navigating the site via touchscreen.
When it comes to conversion rates on mobile vs desktop, user behavior on each platform can have a big impact. Take a look below, where we outline exactly how people interact and use websites differently when viewing them on different devices.
User Behavior on Desktop:
- Larger screen allows for better and more content visibility
- Users typically spend more time browsing each webpage
- Multitasking is common within the browser (such as having multiple tabs open)
- Often used for deeper research into a product, service, or topic
- Complex interactions such as forms and navigation are smoother.
User Behavior on Mobile:
- Scanning and quick interactions are typical
- Limited screen space requires concise content
- Users are often on the go and seeking quick answers
- Interactions typically via tapping and swiping
- Location-based searches and actions are common
- Conversion rates might differ due to shorter attention spans.
Here are two things we know for certain:
- Mobile conversions are typically lower than desktop conversions
- Mobile internet traffic is typically higher than on desktop
So, the likelihood is that your website gets more visitors on mobile devices, but a lower percentage of those visitors convert.
By taking the time to make sure your website has a mobile-first design, you can improve the browsing experience and increase conversions within the largest segment of your visitors.
Here are some smart ways to boost your mobile site conversions:
- Ensure that your website is responsive and works seamlessly on mobile devices
- Optimize your checkout page so that it’s streamlined for use on mobile
- Create specific mobile-optimized CTAs that are shorter than your desktop ones
- Optimize your page for faster load speeds on mobile
- Leverage micro-moments and geolocation
Of course, ignoring your conversion rates on the desktop is a bad move. After all, a robust strategy should include driving higher levels of conversions across the board in order to capitalize on all traffic to your website.
Optimizing your desktop site will help you drive greater conversions on the platform where visitors are already more likely to convert.
Here are some smart ways to maximize desktop conversion rates:
- Use rich multimedia and interactive content to capture visitors’ attention
- Optimize your product pages and offer alternative products in order to capitalize on higher desktop purchasing intent
- Use multi-step forms to collect valuable data
- Personalize user experiences and marketing
- Segment your audience to offer bespoke communications and recommendations
There are significant differences in the conversion rates of mobile and desktop websites. While desktop sites generally offer better conversions than their mobile counterparts, mobile sites receive more traffic.
Whether desktop or mobile converts best for you depends on several factors such as your audience and what you offer. However, something that stays consistent is the fact that you need to optimize both platforms in order to create a robust strategy for scoring the most conversions.
In this guide, we’ve given you some top tips to help you make the most of both the mobile and desktop versions of your website. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to put these tips to use and boost your conversions across the board.