For three days every year, digital marketing devotees head west and invade Seattle, enthralled to drink the same Kool-Aid as their favorite industry insiders in hopes of learning impactful tactics we can apply to our own marketing strategies back at our agencies. Throughout my two plus years at Blue Magnet Interactive, I have been lucky enough to attend a conference, but nothing quite prepared me for the firehose of dense information we would cover across a spectrum of digital marketing related topics at MozCon. When I say dense firehose of information, I am not kidding; attendees had the opportunity to discover new ways to improve A/B testing skills, get tips on building a better user experience and what that means for their business’ bottom line, or rediscover why keyword research still matters.
Now that you have the 4-1-1 on MozCon, I’d like to share the primary takeaways from one of the most impactful presentations I listened to. Conversion optimization consultant Talia Wolf shared new tactics on breaking old marketing patterns and rewriting the mobile conversion optimization playbook to make it work for your marketing goals.
Standout Presentation – Breaking Patterns: How to Rewrite the Conversion Rate Optimization Playbook with Mobile Optimization
We are all aware of the impact mobile devices have had on digital marketing the last few years. From mobile websites to apps to responsive site designs to the AMP project, mobile has helped to reconstruct not only how we reach users, but how and why we get these users to convert (or in hotel terms, book a room).
Talia has spent the last 10 years of her life researching human behavior with the main goal of understanding what makes people buy and which emotional factors influence those purchasing decisions. Fast forward to 2016, and what has she discovered? For starters, the average website receives 65% of its traffic from mobile users, and marketers are still treating these users as desktop users. Since the standard, go-to solution for mobile is a responsive design, the same desktop content is condensed down onto a smaller screen. The issue Talia found is these mobile visitors can not find what they are looking for and bounce away, which causes a 270% gap in conversion rates between mobile and desktop. Talia concluded this is happening because marketers are essentially creating a sucky mobile experience. So sucky, in fact, that Talia referenced a February 2016 neuroscience study which found the amount of stress users have while experiencing a delay on a mobile site is the same level of stress people exhibit while watching a horror film. The internet is scary, but using it from your mobile phone shouldn’t make it any more horrifying than it already is.
Divulging a bit further, Talia explained why this is happening. Why are users stressed? As it turns out, since mobile users have a different state of mind, they ultimately have different expectations and behave differently than desktop users. This makes absolute sense. Our state of mind on mobiles device is different, and since our state of mind is different, our actions, intent, and searches are different. What users need to find on mobile is different than what they need to find on a desktop. Now that we as marketers have this information, it’s up to us to make the mobile experience better for our audiences and make mobile work for our digital marketing bottom line.
Getting More Mobile Conversions: Understanding the Mobile Conversion Rate Optimization Equation
In order to improve mobile conversion rates, Talia has a simple solution that a better understanding of people plus a better understanding of their behavior will help marketers create an experience users actually want, which ultimately results conversions.
When we provide a wealth of information to our mobile users, we are causing a poverty of attention by serving them the same content-heavy information we serve desktop users. We are overloading our mobile users with information, heightening their stress levels, and causing confusion. This creates analysis paralysis, limits a user’s ability to make a booking decision, and increases the likelihood the user will bounce away. To combat this loss of conversion, marketers need to start thinking about what mobile visitors need and what information we are going to serve them, and then determine how we can improve their experience.
The 4 Micro-Moments of a Mobile Journey
In order for us to determine how to improve a mobile user’s experience or where to start, Talia points out, we first need to understand the mobile journey of our visitors. We can identify the most important parts of a mobile visitor’s journey and discover where we need to begin our optimization using Google’s 4 Micro-Moments of a Mobile Journey. Micro-moments, as defined by Google, are intent-rich moments when a user acts on a need. The four micro-moments include:
Micro-moments were born out of the way smartphones and mobile browsing affects the way people use the internet. Mobile has changed the expectations users have of brands by providing immediate action where users can learn, do, or buy anything at any time. Mobile has also increased users demand for relevance of accurate and useful information. Google spent time learning from real people’s real needs in real moments to unearth the journey of a mobile user. Understanding these micro-moments helps marketers better understand their audiences.
Google also knows when it comes to the travel industry, micro-moments are happening throughout the customer journey, but are a little bit different than the standard micro moments of a mobile journey. These four intent-rich, travel related micro-moments include: I-want-to-get-away, Time-to-make-a-plan, Let’s-book-it, and Can’t-wait-to-explore moments.
I-want-to-get-away-moments / I-want-to-know:
The first moment of a future traveler’s mobile journey is the I-want-to-get-away-moment. This happens when people start dreaming of their next vacation or future trip. These mobile users are not ready to convert, but they are interested in your hotel and want/need to know more. At this micro moment, mobile users do not care about what your hotel offers they ask themselves, why should I travel here? Google notes 37% of travelers in the US think about vacation planning once a month and as many as 17% think about it on a weekly basis. That is a large chunk of travelers spending their time thinking about travel; how can we get them to think about your hotel?
One way we have been able to get hotels in front of travelers during this micro I-want-to-get-away-moment is by providing users the content they want. Google reports during this micro moment, users are looking to places like YouTube to research destinations and learn more about their future vacation. The best way for hotels to tap into this is simple: get on YouTube. As many as 37% of travelers watched a YouTube video on the website they used to book. If you do not have a video promoting or exploring your hotel, you are missing out on a valuable micro-moment in a guest’s mobile journey to book.
Time-to-make-a-plan-moments & I-want-to-go-moments:
At this stage on a mobile user’s micro journey, they are getting ready to finalize plans, book hotels, and purchase flights. This is the point where we need to help the mobile user get to the information they are looking. We need to help users find our site and navigate through it efficient and effectively. How can we help our mobile users complete these actions with our existing mobile websites? How can we give users exactly what they need easily and quickly? A few of Talia’s examples can be found below, as well as examples that showcase ways users find our client’s mobile content easily and, ultimately, complete the desired action.
- Add a click to call button
- Add a navigation option
- Add an accessible contact page
Let’s-book-it-moment / I-want-to-do moments:
The third micro-moment of a mobile user’s journey is the I-want-to-do moment; this happens right before and after a purchase. Users are trying to get information and it is up to the marketers to help users learn and explore. This is a moment where businesses can start collecting leads or information from users such as their email addresses. This third micro-moment of a travel journey is the let’s-book-it stage. As you can tell, this is very important since this is when users are pulling the trigger and converting. Google reports 31% of leisure travelers have booked travel on a smartphone, whereas 53% of business travelers book on mobile devices. What is most interesting is that of all the users looking to travel, as many as 46% of travelers that perform mobile travel research and make their final travel decisions on a mobile device end up doing the actual booking on a desktop or tablet device.
What are the main reasons potential guests are doing their research on mobile, but booking on an alternate device? Two reasons include an anxiety factor that travelers won’t find the best price on a mobile and that they’re not making the best decision because they’re not 100% confident in the content they found on mobile. As a matter of fact, only 23% of leisure travelers are confident they can find the same hotel and flight information on a mobile device as they can on their desktop. That statistic jumps up to 53% for business travelers. In addition to the trust issue, mobile websites have historically created mobile booking limitations for users.
So what are some ways we can get rid of those limitations and eliminate steps for mobile users? One way is to implement a one-click functionality on your site. You can easily implement this one-click functionality on your mobile website with your hotel’s phone number, reservation system, and directions to your exact location. This benefits the user by avoiding making the user open other apps, or manually enter your phone number, one-click functionality will open up what the user needs exactly where they need to use it. Phone for phone numbers, maps for addresses, and so forth. Another way is to eliminate steps for a user by catering the keyboard to the users function. If you are requesting a user’s email address, do not provide them with the number keyboard (and vice versa). This way, users won’t have to manually enter in your address for directions, your phone number to call you, or switch keyboards.
Can’t-wait-to-explore moments / I-want-to-buy moments:
Once you have gotten users to convert, the final micro-moment stage in the travel journey is the can’t-wait-to-explore moment. In this moment we analyze how hotels can improve upon the experience of the guest. I’m not saying for hotels to get better towels or nicer bedding, although that does aid in a positive guest experience. Google focuses on providing the traveler with unique information to make exploring your city a memorable and enjoyable one. Almost 85% of leisure travelers don’t decide on activities until they’ve arrived at their destination. That makes up a huge group of potential travelers who want your expertise on the area. One way to showcase your local expertise on your mobile website is by creating local area pages highlighting things to do near your hotel. A hotel employee will provide value to visitors at the hotel but being able to direct them to a page on your site that lays out all of the top recommendations is a great resource for guests.
Bottomline: Make Mobile Work For You
One of the most important points Talia makes about the final step of the mobile journey is that marketers need to remember mobile visitors are not mini desktop users; therefore, mobile users need desperately to be treated as a different type of user with a different perspective. With the information Google has given us about Micro-Moments and how they shape the mobile journey of a travel customer, marketers will be able to make more informed decisions benefiting the user.
Now we know, in some ways, marketers are essentially abandoning mobile users, it is up to us to change the way we treat the mobile web and its users. When you make the first step – becoming aware of your mobile audience, how they search, and really digging into the experience you are providing them – you will be able to improve mobile conversion rates. If you are interested in learning more about how we can improve your hotel’s mobile conversion rates, or just want to learn more about Blue Magnet Interactive, contact us today.