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With consumer behaviour and shopping habits continually evolving, coupled with the increase in smartphone penetration, more and more consumers are accessing the internet through mobile devices.

This is something that we have been monitoring closely at Affiliate Window for the past 18 months. Back in December 2010 we saw traffic through mobile devices account for 2.4% of all network traffic and 1.7% of all sales.

Fast forward to March 2012 and these figures have grown considerably with 10% of traffic and 6.6% of sales coming through mobile devices.


 
In addition to this, taking into account growth rates we experienced throughout 2011, we forecast that by the end of the year approximately 14.5% of all transactions will have taken place through mobile devices.

The importance of optimising for mobile

With the volume of clicks that are now driven by this channel, it is important that advertisers are in a position to be able to convert this traffic.

There is still an alarming number of retailers that do not have mobile optimised versions of their site. This makes the process of viewing products, adding them to a basket and ultimately converting a fiddly process.

This has led to conversion rates through mobile handsets dropping as the amount of traffic through the devices has increased. While mobile is increasingly used in the research phase of a customer journey, visitors are not being converted due to a poor user experience.

Where we have advertisers that have launched a mobile optimised version of their site, complete with affiliate tracking, figures have been impressive.

For one advertiser we have seen sales through mobile devices increase from around 2% to 16% of all transactions through the affiliate channel.

Mobile and average order values

It is not just about seeing a greater volume of sales coming through mobile devices, we are also seeing an impact on the average basket values.

We have been able to monitor the average order values of customers that have bought through a mobile device and compare these when visiting the e-commerce version of the site vs. the fully optimised m-commerce site.

Through Android devices, average order values were found to be 40% higher through the mobile optimised version of the site and above that of desktop. Similarly, basket values through the iPhone saw a 25% increase when coming through the mobile optimised site rather than the full e-commerce site.

Affiliate tracking

As well as a poor user journey being partly to blame for the drop in conversion rates, this can also be attributed to advertisers not including affiliate tracking within their mobile sites – meaning that not all sales through the affiliate channel are tracked.

Despite there being a significant rise in mobile usage, there is a fundamental disconnect between what some of the largest brands in the country are doing in the running of their affiliate campaign and the preparedness for the implications of m-commerce on affiliates.

When accessing an advertiser’s site through a mobile device, by default the m-commerce version of a site (if available) will load. This highlights how problematic it is when affiliate tracking is not in place.

Advertisers who have embraced mobile and have developed mobile optimised sites may miss out on a significant number of opportunities that present themselves through the affiliate channel if they neglect the importance of adding affiliate tracking.

Mobile traffic has been increasing month on month and our stats indicate that this growth will not be slowing any time soon.

Developing mobile optimised sites will definitely help improve user journeys and place advertisers in a better position to convert the increasing number of visitors through mobile devices.

However, to really take advantage of the mobile opportunities presenting themselves through the affiliate channel, it is imperative that affiliate tracking is put in place.

Matt Swan

Published 25 April, 2012 by Matt Swan

Matt Swan is Client Strategist at Affiliate Window and a contributor to Econsultancy.

25 more posts from this author

Comments (6)

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Depesh Mandalia, Head of Digital Marketing at Lost My Name

Part of the problem as an affiliate sending traffic to a merchant's site (ie not owning the end to end such as with a full API or white label) is that you're relying on the merchant to have:
1. a mobile site
2. a decent mobile site
3. a decent mobile site that you can actually purchase from
4. affiliate tracking which works

I'd hesitate a guess that the majority will fall at one of those hurdles and of course those that are covering all bases will reap the early adopter benefits

That said, as an affiliate you can't stop users from browsing your site via mobile, usage will only increase and therefore you snooze or lose. I'd suggest getting your experience as best it can be once you're nearing 10% of traffic through mobile and ensure users will at least consider using your website next time else you'll simply lose out to another affiliate who may not be generating sales via mobile, but due to a better mobile experience than yours can retain the customer to their brand...

over 4 years ago

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Mobile Affiliates

"However, to really take advantage of the mobile opportunities presenting themselves through the affiliate channel, it is imperative that affiliate tracking is put in place"

Agreed, I'd also say it should be part of the merchant T/Cs when signing up with an affiliate network, if a merchant does have a mobile site, the network should be enforcing tracking not simply suggesting it. The leakage stats if made available would be interesting for affiliates to see.

over 4 years ago

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Matt Baker

The proliferation of mobile optimised sites with affiliate tracking can only help to improve tracking and support the channel. There will inevitably be a continued issue of consumers using multiple devices to complete their journey. Where until very recently a user may have researched and transacted on the same machine, they now may use a tablet, pc and mobile at various stages in the sales journey. With cookies used to track the sale, tracking can break down in these scenarios. This is more prevalent in more considered purchases such as Travel.

over 4 years ago

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delacon

In today's era everything become online and also people can surf all these things on mobile so in this case mobile tracking will help form any miss happening.

over 4 years ago

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MIreview

In what way the proliferation of mobile optimized sites helps improve tracking, i wonder?

over 4 years ago

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Gps for phones tracking

I know this thing that today so many peoples access internet via phone but i don't agree with this point that by mobile tracking will secure from any miss-happening.

almost 4 years ago

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