Google: Consumers shun brands with bad mobile experiences
- Consumer expectations of brands on mobile platforms are greater than ever, according to a study by search giant Google. Nine in 10 smartphone owners who describe a mobile brand experience as helpful or relevant would purchase from the brand again, the company wrote in a blog post.
- Speed and relevance are crucial to customer satisfaction, and a "neutral" experience is no better than a negative one, Jason Spero, vice president of global performance solutions at Google, said. When users have a negative brand experience on mobile, the likelihood they will buy from that brand again drops by more than 60%.
- Google collaborated with research firm Purchased to learn more about how brand experiences can build or damage brand equity. Their study of more than 2,000 smartphone owners who kept a daily diary for a week tracked more than 17,000 interactions with brands.
People are more likely than ever to interact with a brand through a mobile device, which makes those experiences crucial to win new customers and maintain quality relationships with existing ones. Consumers have 2x as many interactions with brands on mobile devices than anywhere else, including TV and in-store settings, Google found in its study. That makes those "mobile moments" with customers critical.
One key takeaway from the study is that marketers should be focused on improving the response speed of their mobile experiences, as one of the top complaints consumers have is a sluggishness. The company recommends designing mobile websites and apps to load content quickly, although spotty cellular coverage is still a technical limitation that brand marketers simply can't control. Google, citing earlier research that said people expect mobile content to load in three seconds or less, pointed to its Test My Site diagnostic tool to evaluate website speed. E-commerce sites can also make users' checkout experience more seamless by pre-filling user preferences or by using third-party services that store billing information.
Another major frustration for mobile consumers is "not being able to find the information they need," Google found. Of course, the world's leading search engine has a solution for that, too. The company recommends simple site navigation and search tools to help people save time in finding the information they need about a specific product or service.
When it comes to brands, a "neutral" experience is generally considered negative. A company that doesn't provide "a delightful or relevant mobile experience" can hurt consumers' perception of its brand, Google said. For example, an online travel company that shows ads for flights to Iceland when a customer is searching for flight deals to Mexico doesn't quite fulfill the right expectations or needs.
But what's worse than being neutral or irrelevant is being interruptive. Forty-six percent of people reported that they wouldn't purchase from a brand again if they had an interruptive mobile experience, meaning intrusive pop-ups or full-screen ads that interfere with seeing mobile content can significantly impact users' experiences and a company's sales. The Coalition for Better Ads, which Google is a part of, has published standards that can help marketers understand what people want and don't want when it comes to these mobile ad experiences.