The Six Most Important Mobile Metrics for Benchmarking Your Site’s Success

With web traffic from mobile devices constituting more than half of total e-commerce traffic (and rising), every retailer wants to increase their mobile conversion rate.

The question is, how do you do it? While much has been written about mobile performance benchmarks — and it’s certainly easy to get lost in web analytics data — here are six critical metrics to watch and work to improve.

1. Average time on site and bounce rate.

How long do visitors spend on your mobile site? How many visitors abandon your site and when?

Examine user journeys through your mobile site and identify potholes—places where visitors exit or get stuck. Maybe you make them move backwards to the home page to resubmit searches or restart navigation – not a good strategy. People prefer to filter on an original search result rather than start a whole new search.

2. Marketing email open rates.

Mobile email open rates continue to climb. If you’re experiencing a low percentage of mobile email opens, it may be an indication that you need to change your email layout—maybe move the call-to-action further up.

Of course, when readers choose to open the email, it’s incredibly important that it renders properly and that the customer is quickly transported to a smoothly functioning mobile website.

3. Average order value (AOV).

Average order value provides insight into whether your customers tend to buy more expensive or less expensive products and how many products they tend to order each time they visit.

Clearly, optimizing your site for smartphones has a significant impact on average order value. In fact, the AOV on smartphones on mobile optimized sites is 102% of the AOV for shoppers on the same retailer’s desktop site.

In general, when evaluating mobile metrics, think beyond average order value to the composition of items in each shopper’s cart, by shopping device, and you’ll be able to make smart decisions about how to merchandise to customers.

4. Conversion rates.

Average order value is one indication of how engaging and easy your mobile website is to use, but it does not tell the whole story. You need to also monitor conversion rate and total revenue.

For reference, a smartphone site, properly optimized, should be able to convert at 40 to 60 percent of your desktop rate, while a well-optimized tablet site should be able to convert 10 percent higher than desktop.

If your mobile platforms are converting significantly lower, you need to tune your mobile sites.

Distinguish, too, between the number of items in the cart and the average item value. Busy smartphone shoppers are generally more likely to buy lower value items on impulse. If so, you could tune your product recommendation engine to recommend lower-priced items to incrementally increase the average order value.

5. Referrals.

Look at what percentage of traffic is coming from other sites, especially social media. Then, go deeper to analyze browsing and purchase behavior, conversion rate, average order value, and other behavior as compared to customers shopping from their desktop or laptop.

Following these steps will help guide the way you prioritize mobile experience optimization.

6. Traffic growth.

Are you seeing an increase in mobile traffic as a percentage of total traffic?

More than 50% of e-commerce traffic originates from mobile devices. As the mobile traffic share grows, your effective blended conversion rate declines. If customers are accessing your website from a tablet or smartphone, rather than a desktop computer, you may have a hidden drop in conversions, while your revenue is still increasing.

Being aware of this can help you analyze growth targets and see opportunities to revise forecasts with higher revenue numbers, if you put in the work on smartphone and tablet optimization.


Specific metrics like these six can be used for tracking and tuning initiatives and projects.

Yet, it should be the ‘macro metrics’ of sales, revenues, and profits that drive your overall strategy and focus. Measure the micro and use these insights when making decisions on the macro.

Aim to fill the gaps and fix what’s broken, but take time to step back from the daily fires and take stock of how you can make strategic changes that will yield results over the next 6-12 months.

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