Why are mobile conversion rates usually lower than desktop?

By Ilana Davis

Conversion rates on mobile devices can often be much lower than desktop. This can be incredibly confusing when the majority of visits to U.S. websites are from mobile devices.

How can it be that conversion rates on mobile remain low when traffic continues to increase?

Desktop traffic tends to be more intentional with the intent to buy at that moment.

There’s also a lot more trust built around entering credit card information from a desktop computer than the phone. This too is changing with pain-free checkout options (e.g. Apple Pay, Shop Pay, Google Pay etc) becoming more prevalent.

Traffic from mobile devices often comes from social media and social media ads.

Mobile users are also on their phone during in-between times. As in they are browsing their phone during lunch, a commercial, or while on public transit.

This means that during the in-between time, they were swiping through Facebook or Instagram and just so happen to see your ad. So they click on the ad to see what you’re all about. At this point, they are just browsing and don’t have plans to buy because they are likely in-between something.

If they don’t buy from you right away from their mobile device, maybe they sent a reminder for them to come back later when they get home.

Or maybe they just aren’t ready to buy yet.

Or maybe they clicked on your ad out of curiosity but have zero intentions of buying.

The point is that it’s expected to have lower conversion rates when the majority of your traffic comes from Facebook or Instagram.

Social media rarely converts the first time.

What if instead of focusing on conversions from mobile, we looked at this traffic as planting the seed. I know, that sounds crazy but hear me out.

This casual click from social networks will impact your conversion rates. And that’s alright.

Increasing traffic, doesn’t mean conversions increase as well. That’s the pesky thing with large numbers.

I think there’s some stat somewhere that says people need to see your message 7 times before they buy.

So think about how you can move mobile traffic through your funnel rather than going right from click to sale.

Meaning you plant the seed and the seed grows over a period of time before they pick the fruit. I mean, buy.

During the Website Rescues, we do benchmark conversion rates and the goal is still to see this number increase.

Though I do think conversion rate is and will continue to be a valuable measurement, I don’t care if it’s high or low.

Instead, I care that the number is increasing.


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