How Does Mobile Affect Purchasing Decisions

About 83 percent of web traffic to B2B sites still originates from desktops, according to new data from Wpromote, an online marketing agency. But B2B would do well to watch the rise of mobile traffic in consumer sites -- and its role in purchasing decisions.

According to stats from online marketing agency Wpromote, desktop web traffic to consumer sites dropped to 73 percent in the first quarter, from 82 percent and 88 percent in the same quarter in 2013 and 2012, respectively. Meanwhile, web traffic from mobile devices increased by 50 percent in the past year and now represents a quarter of all website visits.

The El Segundo, Calif.-based company surveyed 35 client websites in e-commerce, business to business and consumer services. Although the sample is small, the findings supported the general wisdom about the move to mobile.

Research on Mobile

"There's more traffic from mobile," Mothner told CMSWire, "but there are not as many transactions [as on desktops or laptops.]"

He noted that marketers often say mobile "is not getting the ROI" they'd like to see for their marketing dollars from mobile, but added there's a key user behavioral pattern that needs to be considered.

"The reality," Mothner said, is that users often conduct "research on mobile devices, and then conduct the transaction" on larger screens. From a marketing point of view, mobile devices are serving the role of "an assist" to a purchase, and, if possible, any ROI assessment should consider that role, he said.

How can the level of assistance be assessed? One method is to measure sales conversions with and without marketing for a given product on mobile devices, such as turning Adwords for mobile on and then off for a week.

The most important thing, Mothner said, is to identify the influence of mobile marketing on your business and how it helps lead to sales. For instance, search on mobile devices is often used to find a nearby physical retailer for a given product or service. That kind of research leads to a real world conversion, and needs its own analysis.

"There's no single roadmap" for figuring out the value of mobile marketing, he said. But Mothner emphasized that marketers should "not underinvest in mobile" because the mobile based conversions are not there, when mobile's role may be largely to serve as the menu before the customer orders the full meal.

And, given that B2B often follows the consumer market, these mobile trends may well be imminent in the B2B market.

Title image by cowardlion / Shutterstock.