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5 Must-Track Mobile Metrics: Measuring the Mobile User Experience

Posted on 8.14.2016

:: By Dan Engel, Mobile1st ::


Mobile, as we all know, has become a critical touchpoint, even a hub, in your customers’ journeys to conversion. How do you know when your website defeats instead of delights your mobile customers though? 

There are five must-track mobile metrics for monitoring and evaluating your customers’ experiences. These five numbers will help you understand why customers are embracing your brand or, instead, expressing extreme exasperation over their experience to everyone within the increasingly broad circumference of their social media circle.

What Exactly Is Mobile UX?

First, let’s take a step back and ask what do we mean by “mobile user experience (UX)” and why is it important?

Mobile UX encompasses two somewhat contradictory meanings. First, it’s about the effortless ability of your mobile visitors to interact with your website. Visitors can intuitively discover precisely the info they desire and accomplish their goals without pondering choices or hesitating over next steps.

Instead, they understand how to complete tasks with ease. That’s really the baseline. And frankly, in the tech world, it can be thrilling for consumers that something just works. 

Beyond mere functionality, a great UX also implies a website that brings pleasure to its visitors with the awesomeness of its content and the elegance of the experience. As Web designer Stephen Anderson argues, “Satisfaction ought to be the norm, and delight ought to be the goal.”

A second dimension of course is conversion. A great mobile design/UX helpfully leads prospects from page to Web page, from powerful image to useful video until they are ready to convert, whether that means signing up for a newsletter, volunteering for charitable activities, or plunking down cold hard cash for a new mind-blowing, ear-splitting sound system. 

Why Focus on Mobile UX?

Increasingly companies have target-locked their sights on customer experience and in particular mobile ux. 

Why? Consider the views of Bill Carmody, CEO of Trepoint

“Customer experiences are the only way we are going to be able to distinguish ourselves in the marketplace long-term. There is no other sustainable advantage.” 

In today’s fast moving marketplace, technological innovation means competitors can quickly introduce products that closely resemble yours and may even offer a lower price point. As consumer demand ebbs and flows, the only way to distinguish yourself in the marketplace and earn customer loyalty is user experience.

And a great mobile experience is critical to earning your customer’s undying affection. Google reports that 29 percent of customers who perceive a mobile site as not meeting their needs -- whether it’s too slow or critical product information is missing -- will immediately jump to another site, and 28 percent will be less likely to buy that company’s products in the future.

There are three major reasons you should embrace customer experience and mobile UX as your critical differentiator:

Reduced churn – Customers who express strong loyalty generally stay with your product line, which means your firm will have a longer, more profitable relationship with them.

Cost efficiency – With customers whose hearts you have already won, there is reduced costs in terms of sales, marketing and advertising compared to the cost of winning new customers. And as the folks at Net Promoter Scale (NPS) point out, “their average order size is typically larger, leading to lower transaction costs per unit of revenue.”

Word of mouth – Customers who appreciate your brand are typically the best promoters. And in the era of social media and online ratings, word of mouth is increasingly the critical fulcrum to drive sales. “Loyal promoters,” says NPS, “generate 80 percent to 90 percent of referrals.”

Assessing Your UX: 5 Must-Have Metrics

By mobile metric, I mean a way of describing on a quantitative scale an aspect of customer interactions with your website. The metric enables you to assess performance, establish a baseline and then measure the impact of any website improvements. Certainly such numbers need to be carefully interpreted. Like the old tale of the five blind men encountering an elephant, metrics reveal just a small aspect of a bigger phenomenon, and they may seriously mislead. 

For the most part, the following metrics indicate outcomes and actions, they tell us little about context, motivations and intent. These broad metrics enable you to assess your website’s mobile performance and identify UX issues. Once you spot a UX issue, you can then drill down with a more detailed, qualitative analysis of mobile visitors’ interaction with your website design.

Metric 1: Load Time

Load time as a part of mobile UX?? Precisely! No element of your interaction with prospects has such a potent impact on user experience. For good or evil, today’s millennials swear they would rather die than wait. In fact, any prolonged delay beyond a mere three seconds induces rapid departure if not anxiety attacks among the young and restless – 40 percent of shoppers will jump sites beyond 3.0 seconds, reports Kissmetrics

Luckily such tools as Pingdom and Mobilizer deliver easy, fast measurements of your mobile load time. While Mobilizer measures your mobile load time down to the hundredth of a second, PageSpeed Insights assesses your site’s speed, but also delivers an added bonus: They specify the fixes your team needs to make to accelerate your loading speed--all tailored to your particular website. 

Metric 2: Bounce Rate

Bounce rate – measured by Google Analytics and other tools – opens a revealing window onto your mobile UX. It calculates the percentage of mobile visitors that depart after viewing only a single page (their landing page). 

This mobile metric reveals whether your website’s content is meeting users’ needs and expectations. Are they making a quick departure after visiting their initial landing page? Ideally, your website leads the mobile user from one useful, intriguing page to the next until they finally convert through a call to action (CTA).

A high bounce rate on first glance would seem to be something to avoid, like the onset of gangrene, but is it? As with all metrics, what is an acceptable bounce rate depends upon the particular audience and goals of your website.

A high bounce rate may:

Reveal you are delivering a poor UX to visitors, not offering the info they need or the experience they demand

But could also:

Indicate you are attracting the wrong type of visitors and possibly spending resources and advertising in the wrong places

Lower your search ranking in Google

To bring a high bounce rate down and fix a misalignment between your visitors and your website’s content, it’s necessary to examine in detail visitors’ interaction with your Web pages and who is arriving at your site and why. Segmenting your Web traffic can help you identify who is finding your page content to be useful and who isn’t.

Metric 3: Behavior Flows

Flow charts are another invaluable metric, exposing the major steps visitors take as they navigate through your website. As the illustration below makes clear, flow charts show how people move from page to page, what are their next choices, and when they jump off your site.

The chart helps you zoom in on the pages with UX issues, determining why site visitors deviate from your planned customer journey or, worse, depart from your site, never to return.

If site visitors aren’t navigating and exploring as you desire, or if traffic is departing at a faster rate than expected, your site navigation or graphic design probably needs fine-tuning. Consider making movement between pages easier and offering additional CTAs, clearer navigation and teasers for related content or products.

Metric 4: Average Session Duration

While a somewhat crude measure and subject to a number of qualifications, the time mobile visitors spend on your website can be used as a broad measure of their engagement. 

Session duration thus reveals whether you are providing useful content to your visitors or not. After all, if prospects don’t engage with your website, it will be extremely difficult to persuade them of the value of your goods or services. 

This metric can be segmented to analyze which traffic finds your content compelling.

Metric 5: Subjective Satisfaction

User experience is about more than just navigation flows, ease of use, and rate of conversion. It’s also about the subjective experiences of your website visitors, their attitudes, expectations and purposes. In the end, it’s all about their satisfaction. 

Their subjective mobile experience is a critical component of their broader customer experience and brand loyalty, but also helps clarify whether your mobile UX is performing as desired or not.

For assessing customer satisfaction, Net Promoter Score (NPS) is an industry standard. It powerfully unites its measures of satisfaction with significant business consequences such as customer retention and word-of-mouth recommendations. 

For mobile UX, the standard is typically a quick pop-up survey at the end of a website visit, such as those offered by SurveyMonkey. Your questionnaire can help you pin down your customers’ likes, dislikes and areas for improvement. For example, what does your typical mobile visitor think about available product information? Too much? Too little Just right? How easy is it for them to discover the information they are seeking? Is there anything at about their website experience that turns off your mobile visitors?

Together these five metrics deliver a powerful snapshot of your mobile users’ experience. Like the famed canary in the coal mine, they can serve as warning sign of serious issues disrupting mobile usability or as guideposts validating improvements to your site design. They give marketers the eagle-eye view to rest assured that your website is performing as desired or whether you need to roll up your shirtsleeves and dig deeper to identify and resolve problems.


About the Author

Dan Engel, a serial SaaS entrepreneur, has been in the e-commerce & software industries since 1997. Currently, Dan is CEO of Mobile1st, the Mobile Optimization Company that grows mobile revenue, engagement, & conversion rates for companies of all sizes through its Diagnose/Fix/Monitor service offering.

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