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Will Bigger Smartphone Screens Impact Paid Search?

Published: October 28, 2014

Despite the fact that smartphones are gradually replacing the desktop as the preferred method of accessing the Internet, mobile device conversions continue to lag behind those of desktops by a considerable margin.

  • A recent RKG Digital Marketing Report found that the smartphone revenue per click (RPC) is 66 percent lower than for desktops, mainly due to lower overall conversion rates for smartphones.
  • Even when cross-device conversions are factored in, smartphone RPC is still 63 percent below desktops; a cross-device conversion occurs when a search is initiated on one device such as a smartphone and ends with a conversion on another device such as a desktop.

Not surprisingly, mobile shopping cart abandonment rates are running at a whopping 97 percent compared to an average of 68 percent for desktops.

Why Smartphones Conversions are so Low
Screen size is a major factor that impacts smartphone conversions due to user navigation issues. There is simply not enough real estate on a smartphone screen to enable the user to do everything that can be done on a desktop.

In short, the larger the smartphone screen size, the easier it is for the user to navigate your page and complete a purchase.

Can Larger-Screen Smartphones Improve Conversions?
Apple recently introduced two new larger-screen iPhones that hold the promise of boosting conversion rates closer to those delivered by desktops. The iPhone 6 has a 4.7 inch screen while the iPhone 6 Plus offers an even larger 5.5 inch screen. Because iPhones account for the majority of smartphone paid search clicks, industry watchers are carefully tracking the metrics of iPhone conversions.

Early numbers are just starting to come in, but the results so far are extremely encouraging. So far, conversion rates for the new iPhone models are 25 to 33 percent higher compared to earlier iPhone models.

Two other larger-screen smartphones worth mentioning include the Nexus 6 from Google that features a 5.96 inch screen, and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 with a 5.7 inch screen.

How to Improve Mobile Shopping Cart Abandonment Rates
It’s a sad fact of e-commerce life: 97 percent of shoppers abandon their mobile shopping carts for a variety of reasons. On a more positive note, there are a few effective tweaks that you can introduce to cut your shopping cart abandonment rate and increase your revenue per click.

Shoppers feel at-risk entering their financial information in a public environment. Entering an account number while juggling a credit card in one hand and a smartphone in the other while standing in line in Starbucks is as risky as it is awkward. Consider this: credit cards only account for 22 percent of smartphone transactions – PayPal is used 46 percent of the time and 36 percent choose Amazon Payments. Make it easy for your customers to do business with you by offering a range of payment options.

Smartphones make comparison shopping difficult. Shoppers can’t readily open multiple windows to make side-by-side product comparisons. Help them out by adding an API from a comparative shopping engine that enables users to view competitive pricing results right inside your cart page.

Shoppers don’t feel any sense of urgency to make a purchase. When shoppers know that they can always purchase later from their laptop, that’s exactly what many of them will do. Include time-limited offers and bonuses for fast action-takers in your cart page and watch your abandonment rate start to drop.