Optimize the top mobile tasks on your site
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Optimize the top mobile tasks on your site

MAILE OHYE: Hi. I’m Maile Ohye. I work at Google as a
developer programs tech lead. This video is one of several in
our checklist for mobile site improvement. I decided to make these
videos in Q4 of 2013, because I found the mobile
web’s inefficiencies fairly disheartening. To improve matters,
in this video, we’ll go beyond the basics of
stop frustrating your customers and proactively work to
optimize the top mobile tasks on your site. And interesting idea I
learned about mobile users is that just by holding
a mobile device, they’re expectation
of time can differ from their desktop attitude. While site owners were well
aware of mobile network latency and that at its fastest, mobile
can’t outperform desktop. “Strangeloop” cites
that 85% of mobile users expect sites to load at least
as fast or faster than sites on desktop. And when it comes to
shopping, mobile users seem almost eager
to close the deal. 55% of consumers using
mobile to research want to purchase
within the hour. 83% want to purchase
within a day. And that’s exactly
why we should discuss optimizing the top mobile
tasks on your site. Helpful prerequisites for this
video include web analytics. I’ll be using Google Analytics,
as well as Webmaster Tools verified ownership
of your mobile site. If you publish mobile content
on a separate URL from desktop, such as on a sub-domain, be
sure the m. site is verified. To optimize mobile
task completion, we first need to gain insight
to mobile user intent, then with this knowledge
refine our mobile metrics, and last improve user workflow. We’ll begin with gaining
insight to mobile user intent. Rather than dive right in, let’s
take a step back and discuss mobile intent more generally. In usability of mobile
websites, under what to include on a
mobile site, are tasks that relate to users
avoiding a deadline, checking rapidly
changing information, viewing private information. This is probably
because mobile phones are much more personal
than tablets or laptops. The other tasks mentioned
for mobile sites are obtaining business
information, like phone number or store hours, finding
directions, and communicating, such as with email or
social networking sites. Many of these tasks
probably resonate with your own smartphone usage. Still thinking high
level, another way to understand mobile user intent
is through search queries. Behind each keyword,
there’s a task a user was trying to complete. It may be useful to slice,
dice, and categorize your search queries to provide more
lenses for viewing your data. Informational queries show
intent for the searcher to learn or research something. Transactional queries
reflect the searcher wanting to perform an activity,
such as buying a product or downloading a file. Navigational queries
are when a searcher wants to go to a specific page. Commonly, businesses
also include categories of branded
and non-branded keywords, as well as queries with
local or geo intent. To make things more concrete and
to dive deeper into the data, I’ll reference the e-commerce
site, the Google Store at www.googlestore.com
in many of my examples. As for the data, let’s
begin in Google Analytics and create a mobile
traffic segment. Start with Create New Segment. Then select the
Mobile Traffic preset. In Visitors Flow, we
can see how mobile users travel through our site. For the Google Store, it
appears that from our homepage, about 12% continue to
the main shopping page at /shop.axd/home. While over 50% drop off. Although we still need
to focus on understanding the mobile user
intent, questions in the back of my
mind at this point are, why the 50% drop-off. And is the home page useful? Additionally, we notice that
users like to site search. To better understand
mobile intent, what are visitors searching for? To answer this
question, Analytics has a Site Search,
Search Terms feature. Visitors to the
Google Store show intent to see shirts,
YouTube merchandise, and also the Google Store’s phone number. Let’s make a note of
these top queries. Given that Site Search
shows thousands of attempts in the last few months,
questions we start asking are, should we consider making
on-site search terms more findable in the navigation? Can we auto-complete
popular query terms or send searchers directly
to the right page rather than a list of results? Are the search
results even relevant? It’s also fun to look
at in-page analysis to get a sense of
mobile user behavior. When we look at the
main shopping page, we can see the percentage of
clicks to each of the links. Check if the page contains
intuitive navigation. Given common site
search queries, like shirts and YouTube, does
the page content and navigation satisfy the user intent? Does a person looking
for a Google shirt know to click Wearables? If YouTube merchandise
is extremely popular with my
visitors, should the logo be included with the
main category navigation in the center or remain
off to the right? And speaking of popular, we can
use data to support that term. Looking at pages within
Google Analytics segmented by mobile traffic,
we have a list of the popular pages for mobile
visitors, the average time on page, bounce rate, and exits. The five most popular
pages by views seems to confirm a few of
the site search keywords. Google Store’s visitors
are interested in t-shirts and YouTube merchandise. Our understanding
of mobile intent becomes more clear when we
investigate web search queries in Google Webmaster Tools. Select your verified
mobile site, navigate to search queries,
and within top queries, select a date range
of up to three months. With filters, we’ll look at only
the searches for mobile phones. To make sense of the data,
as we discussed earlier, we may want to
categorize queries. The first listed Google
Store query variations are navigational queries. They require more research
to understand intent. The third query,
YouTube, is too broad to bring us qualified traffic. So we’ll disregard it. The last five queries are
likely transactional with intent to buy products from
the Google store. Let’s further investigate
the navigational Google Store queries to see if we
can get an idea of why mobile searchers
want the home page. This may be especially
useful since we already noticed our home page
has over a 50% drop-off. Still in the Search
Queries feature, filter queries
containing Google Store and keep the search
restricted to mobile. The filtered results
show geo-based intent to find country-specific
homepages. Clicking on the query,
Google Store UK, displays that the page
served in Search Results is still the general
Google Store home page at www.googlestore.com. This is clicked over
40% of the time, even though the Google Store
has a specific UK homepage at google-store.com. A question to ask
is, do searchers intend to find their location’s
country-specific page? Or are they desiring to find
a page outside their location? To figure this out,
I’ll filter the queries by Google Store UK on mobile
with the location limited to the United Kingdom. The results show the same
number of impressions as we saw without
the country restrict. We can conclude
that searchers seem to desire their location’s
country-specific homepage. In that case, perhaps
we can use GPS to personalize their
on-site experience and show them
country-specific content but keep the tourist
experience still available. You can use this
type of approach. First, categorizing
queries and then investigating more detail
with filters, top pages, average rank, and CTR to further
understand mobile user intent. So far, we’ve looked mainly
at readily available numbers. But if you have the
time, another great way to understand mobile user intent
is to ask visitors themselves, conduct mobile user studies,
or create mobile surveys. Just be sure the surveys are
optional, not a pop-up window that interrupts the
user’s workflow. Judging from the
data we’ve gathered, let’s assume that one of the
top tasks for the Google Store is a user who wants to
buy a Google t-shirt. From our research,
we also know some of the user’s common
unstated expectations. For example, if a user intends
to buy a Google t-shirt, they also want the
information relevant to them, likely listing their currency
and available shipping. This became more evident through
country-specific homepage queries. And the user probably wants
to buy a Google t-shirt with a fast user experience. This is evident from mobile
industry statistics, as well as the Google Store’s high
percentage of drop-off. Visitors are willing to
leave before they’ve even seen our products. Now that we’ve established more
knowledge of the user intent, the second section
of the video deals with refining mobile metrics. Although, at present, mobile
metrics show lower conversion than desktop, it’s clear
that mobile research influences purchasing decisions. In a Google Nielsen
study, 93% of people who used mobile to research
go on to make a purchase. When refining
mobile metrics, it’s helpful to differentiate
desktop-initiated purchasing behaviors with smartphone
involved purchasing. The traditional desktop models
include desktop research to desktop purchase or desktop
research to in-store purchase or desktop research to in-store
research to desktop purchase. Smartphone involvement
in purchasing can look a little different. There’s mobile research
to mobile purchase, mobile research to
in-store purchase, cross-device conversion, like
mobile research to desktop or tablet purchase, or even
additional possibilities, like in-store research, mobile
price comparison, and then in store at a competitor to
finally make the purchase. Given mobile’s diverse
involvement in the purchase journey, many find it useful
to track micro-conversions. Within your company, you can
report these micro-conversions alongside the desktop
macro-conversions. They may include when mobile
visitors locate a store, call the store, click
the map for directions, share, save, add to
wish list, add to cart. It’s reassuring to note
that Adidas with iProspect found that 20% of mobile users
who clicked on store locator links visited a store. If possible, also track
cross-device workflow with logged in users. The main takeaway for
this second section is that because mobile
behavior and intent can differ from desktop, rather
than blindly reuse desktop metrics for mobile, instead
look at mobile task completion and follow mobile
behaviors step by step as a contribution to conversion. For instance, if a user wants
to research and buy a product, like a Google t-shirt, we
could include mobile metrics of engagement, counting
micro-conversions like pages per visit, add to cart,
et cetera, rather than just orders, as we
might do for desktop. Or if a common mobile task is
to obtain a business’ phone number, the metric
can be measured by clicks on the phone number. Or take the mobile task
to find in-store discounts when shopping. On mobile, the conversion may
be bar code scans, rather than printing or downloading coupons. The last section for
optimizing mobile tasks is to use all of the
information thus far to make improvements
to user workflow. To start, actually run through
a top mobile task for your site, using the same types of
devices as your users. The task we selected
for the Google store is to buy a Google t-shirt. Judging from the data
and search queries, our mobile user may take
two common approaches. They may perform a
navigational query for Google Store or
a transactional query for Google t-shirt. In either case, we can start
to outline the workflow and take note of each step. In the search query
and appearance stage, we can make sure that our
site’s appearance and search results is appealing. The page has a descriptive
title and meta description. Once the user, let’s
pretend his name is Tom, selects our page
in Search Results, we’re in the page content
and engagement stage. In the workflow with
the query Google Store, once Tom clicks a search result,
he comes to our home page, where he must select his region. Then he’s taken to his region’s
main shopping page, where he may select the
Wearables category with the subcategory
men’s t-shirts. Once at the men’s t-shirt
category page, hopefully, Tom will click through to an
individual product page, where he can add to cart
and, eventually, get to the conversion stage
and make a purchase. By the end, Tom has
both completed his task and helped our business. Thanks, Tom. Most real users workflow
has many more twists and turns than this. Still it’s useful to put
yourself in your user’s shoes, like Tom’s, to get
a sense of what it takes for task completion. Now, to prioritize
improvements in the workflow, first eliminate any
unnecessary pages, check for extraneous steps
that can be merged or removed in both the site engagement
and the conversion stage. Second, maintain
information sent. Third, fix the remaining
pages in the workflow that show poor user
experience metrics. Fourth, minimize
user interaction cost throughout the task. That’s interactions such
as typing, clicks, expands, and scrolls, which
are particularly tedious and error-prone
on smartphones. With the first action, reducing
the number of pages required in the workflow, I can test
removing the homepage map and displaying based on the user
the appropriate main shopping page. This may also help
reduce the over 50% homepage drop-off
we saw earlier. We just need to make sure
to provide that tourist experience. To maintain
information sent, we’ll strive to make the
navigation and the calls to action intuitive. Remember the questions we
asked while researching the mobile users intent? Now, it’s time to
test those ideas. Since the top query term in
on-site search was shirt, that may mean that users
either didn’t notice or didn’t associate the category
Wearables with t-shirts. That could signal a loss
of information sent. We could test whether
Wearables is a helpful category name for t-shirts and whether
moving the category to one of the earlier
options in the list increases micro-conversion
for this task. Fixing pages with poor
user experience metrics was actually filmed
as a separate video. If you’re unable to watch it,
areas to focus for improvement are performance,
usability, and content. Once that’s complete, look
to minimize the interaction cost required for completion. In other words, create a
workflow that reduces typing. Perhaps use
auto-complete, previously entered values, or
auto-advancing fields. To simplify checkout, you can
offer third-party checkout options. One click to delete
pre-populated values also saves interaction cost,
rather than requiring the user to repeatedly hit Delete
for each character. And while in Delete mode,
fully clear the Input field. We found this issue as we
audited the Google Store workflow. When trying to add to
cart, the item count keeps a zero displayed even
though it should be clear. This can make users
feel they have to delete the phantom number. Or if they add one item, the
number will append and make 10. It’s easy to become over
familiar with your site, so definitely check the
first-time user experience and have new users
perform common tasks. You may learn to
improve usability with things like password and
clear text, option for users having trouble logging in, as
well as errors that are clearly highlighted and auto-focused
for faster correction. And with that, we’ve concluded
the third and final section for optimizing the top
mobile tasks on your site. It’s my hope that
you now feel more empowered to make improvements. Thanks for watching.


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