What's A Conversion? Accounting For The New Dance Of The Screens

Radio-Shack-App-B2One of the emerging memes in mobile marketing this year is the definition of conversion on these platforms. Google has started banging this drum of late, in part to combat the conventional wisdom to browse on phones but buy elsewhere. But if clickthrough and sales are the criteria applied to mobile marketing, the platform seems to come up short -- even if it plays an increasing role in the consumer path to purchase.

In an effort to prove the point, Google just released a case study showing how RadioShack and agency Mindshare adjusted campaign goals to more accurately attribute its role to mobile. Considering that 90% of the ubiquitous RadioShacks are within 5 miles of most U.S. consumers, an aggressive mobile initiative is pretty much assumed for this brand.

While the mobile-optimized site emphasized product browsing, it also highlighted a GPS-enabled store locator with click-to-call functionality. RadioShack reports that as a result of the revision, average order size from mobile customers is up 30%, with cost of conversion down 5%.

But the key feature of the new efforts is the shift in attribution model. Understanding that the central value of the mobile site was its ability to drive store traffic, the marketers focused on the use of the store locator. More than a third of mobile site visitors are going to the store locator, and between 40% and 60% of those people end up visiting a RadioShack location. Among those, 85% who visit and have intent to buy end up making a purchase. With that path to purchase measurement in view, the analytics group at RadioShack is able to assign a real world sales value to each store locator click.

We will hear more this year about adjusting metrics and the definition of conversion for mobile marketing. It is not just about moving goalposts to get higher ad pricing on mobile. It is also about using the right criteria for optimization. The most effective use of a mobile site or app is not necessarily the same as a Web site. The age of porting both design and expectations from Web to smartphone is past, even if consumers are migrating ever more of their activities to smaller screens. It is a mistake to read the migration metrics as a sign of users abandoning the last screens. They are not. Instead, the consumer is devising a new dance of the screens.  


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