realzeit's take on Criteo's state of mobile commerce Q1 2015
Why we think it's time to rethink the upper funnel in mobile
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Having been invited to the Criteo Live days we were also very lucky to get a first glimpse at Criteo's highly relevant market insights with respect to mobile commerce in order to have some time to think about its implications before it was released officially.

You can download the full presentation here: http://www.criteo.com/resources/mobile-commerce-q1-2015/

m-Commerce is growing

It is definitely worth a read for executives and marketers, especially since the underlying data represents hundreds of millions' worth of transactions worldwide. In a nutshell it says:

  • mCommerce is growing
  • Smartphones are the devices to run the growth
  • There actually is a mobile conversion funnel and Asian markets show us how the future might look like

While the first two findings are hardly suprising, we'd like to elaborate on the mobile conversion funnel, especially the upper part of it.

First off, the US vs. Japan situation: Comparing Desktop and Smartphone funnels in US and Japan.

In the US we see almost similar product views in desktop compared to mobile with lower completion rates down the funnel that finally result in 40-50% lower conversion rates. The reasons for this are the typical ones of worse experience on mobile devices and lack of simplicity in payments which slows down the conversion flow. If we compare the mobile funnels between the US and Japan, we see that in Japan, which in terms of mCommerce is a leading market, the upper funnel is significantly stronger with stronger lower funnel completions leading to significant diffenrences in overall conversion rates.

If we compare this to our (FMCG eCommerce) customers in Germany, France and UK we actually see two things - a high number of product views in mobile and a lower conversion rate. But also we see something else:

  • Mobile views that don't lead to conversions on the same device are being completed on desktop*
  • Customer journeys that begin in the app sphere (on in-app adspaces) end on mWeb destinations and are completed there or via desktop*
*We analyzed the (hashed) advertiser log-in data and matched it with our cross-device and cross channel (app2mWeb) identifiers

So where does it leave us? What we believe to happen is that in the current state of mobile adoption we obviously have problems with good mobile experiences. Nonetheless it is good enough to get users in touch with the brand and its products. And also it is good enough to finally buy that product in a channel that is easier to complete, i.e. desktop for the time being.

Listen up, marketers!

While the C-level executive might be somewhat happy to hear it, marketers still have huge problems fitting those findings into their day-to-day activity with regard to customer journey modelling and budget allocation. We have a couple of suggestions we'd like to present here:

  • Don't think mobile first, think user first: realzeit's big asset is its capability to match unique users between channels (app vs. mWeb) and devices (smartphone vs. tablet vs. desktop). Some advertisers start to build generalized journey models which give some empirical evidence about mobile upper funnel activity and its contribution to overall conversions based on log-in data. That again empowers them to allocate upper funnel or prospecting budgets towards mobile.
  • Address the upper funnel correctly: While you are optimizing the mobile experience for your user to get to Japanese figures, why don't you help them with trackable prospecting engagements like newsletter signups? It filters interested users and helps you addressing them across channels and devices and as a plus is a trackable action.
  • It's all about CAC: It may sound simplistic, but if your completion rate is 40-50% lower, why don't you look for an acquisition channel that is 40-50% cheaper? If your targeting partner is able to find your mWeb users in apps, there is a high chance the CPM is significantly lower than in other channels.

We're curious where the journey is going to take us all, but we are a 100% sure that it is integrated across channels and devices. Thanks again to Criteo for some food for thought.