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Facebook Releases New Report on Mobile Shopping Trends and Expectations

If you work in marketing in any form, by now you know that focusing on mobile is important.

Of course, it’s all relative – your analytics might actually show that desktop is still where people are primarily discovering your products and services – but in a general sense, people are conducting more and more of their day-to-day activities on mobile devices, and that includes searches, comparisons and purchases.

One of the best examples of this shift is Facebook – of The Social Network’s 1.18 billion daily active users, 1.09 billion of them access the platform via mobile device.

Facebook Releases New Report on Mobile Shopping Trends and Expectations | Social Media TodayAnd it’s not just the amount of people logging on, it’s the time spent – on average, each of those billion plus mobile users spends more than 50 minutes per day on Facebook’s platforms. That’s a lot of opportunity to reach them, and now, Facebook has reported just how influential the platform - and mobile more generally - is becoming for reaching consumers.

In a new report on the Facebook IQ blog, Facebook says that 2016 was the first year that Facebook saw more mobile conversions than desktop over the holiday season.

“The upswing in m-commerce started on Black Friday, with the mobile portion of online transactions growing by 55% year over year. And it continued throughout the Holidays, with mobile making up 51% of total online transactions—more than a 10 percentage point increase compared to what we saw during the 2015 Holidays.

The data is based on an analysis of conversion pixel data and app events for ads, enabling Facebook to track downstream conversions based on platform engagement.

And while the data's not overly surprising (though 55% is obviously a big change), it does underline the importance of ensuring you’re targeting mobile consumers, and that you understand the significance of this shift in terms of consumer behavior.

Adding further support to this, Facebook's also provided a new set of mobile consumption stats, raising some additional, important considerations for your marketing strategy.

1. Shopping Intent

Facebook notes that due to the 'always on' nature of mobile devices, more and more people are using that capacity to research products, compare prices and check availability on the go.

In fact, Facebook says that, according to their research, 38% of retail shoppers are looking to do even more shopping on their smartphone than they already do.

Facebook Releases New Report on Mobile Shopping Trends and Expectations | Social Media TodayAs per Facebook:

“People are turning to their smartphones more than to any other device, opening up new opportunities to capture their attention, be it on the go or on the couch. It’s time to get comfortable with playing with different types of content to reach and engage people on mobile.

Given the role mobile now plays in discovery, Facebook’s data underlines the need to consider the modern path to purchase, and how and where users are looking for such information.

And the timing, in particular, is an important element, as noted in Facebook’s next key point.

2. Free Time

This is an important consideration to keep in mind when trying to reach consumers via mobile campaigns.

According to Facebook’s data, mobile conversions rise significantly - and desktop conversions fall - when people are in transit and into the evening.

“At a time when many people are commuting (between the hours of 4–6pm), mobile conversions begin growing and peak around 8–9pm, perhaps when people are watching TV. By contrast, desktop conversions peak around 10–11am, when people are likely to be in front of their computers.”

Facebook Releases New Report on Mobile Shopping Trends and Expectations | Social Media TodayOf course, that makes sense, you’re more likely to be checking your mobile outside of office hours, but a great many campaigns are not currently optimized for such patterns.

While generic behavioral tracking like this is not definitive, and individual results will vary, this is an important note to keep in mind, and one worth considering, at least as a test, in your own targeting process.

3. Shortening the Path to Purchase

Facebook’s data also shows that people who see an ecommerce or retail ad on mobile convert faster than those who see the same on desktop.

Facebook Releases New Report on Mobile Shopping Trends and Expectations | Social Media TodayFacebook also found people take less time to look around on mobile before making a purchase

“When shopping for themselves, or for a friend, our study’s participants browsed 24 products on a smartphone. On desktop, they browsed 29 products.”

Such findings may seem relatively small, but what they do underline is that the immediacy of mobile is making people more impatient.

Mobile enables us to get more things done - anywhere, anytime - and as such, it raises consumer expectation on what they can get done faster.

You likely this happening yourself – now, when you’re out having a conversation with friends and they mention a great new product, you can look it up, there and then, and even order it while continuing the discussion. That rapid connection is becoming more commonplace, and as it does, so too does consumer expectation, which means that brands need to make it as easy as possible for people to move through the conversion process, and in the fewest possible steps.

This expectation is also underlined in another element of Facebook’s study:

“...almost 40% of mobile website visitors abandon a site at three seconds of delay in loading.”

And also:

“90% of people we’ve identified as frequent mobile shoppers say a smooth check-out experience will motivate them to buy again with the same provider.”

As newer, more streamlined options become available, people are experiencing reduced friction in the purchase process, which then raises their expectations that others will provide a similar experience. In this sense, your business is being compared to every other provider, whether they’re in your sector or not. More businesses providing better, more streamlined experiences means consumer expectation increases, and your older processes stand out even more as being dated.

There’s some interesting data points to consider in the report – much of it most brands would already know, but still, the data further underlines the need to be not only aware of, but acting on such trends.

The fact is that more and more people are looking to conduct more research and transactions via mobile, and they want this process to be smooth, fast. Ensuring your business is aligned with that will be key to maximizing your opportunities as these behaviors continue to evolve.

You can read the full Facebook IQ 'Moving at a Mobile Minute' report here.

Join The Conversation

  • ItamarG's picture
    Jan 25 Posted 4 months ago ItamarG

    Generally, we’re aware of the impact of mobile devices on the search and buying habits of consumers because we know the degree to which we use our own mobile phones. Despite that, I’m still utterly amazed at some of these statistics.

    I’m especially surprised to see that 30% of shoppers on Facebook have discovered new products on Facebook. Yet, the more I think about it, the less surprising it is. As an example, I am semi-regularly followed by a new brand on Instagram. It’s not random either, it’s a targeted follow based on who I follow.

    I’m also struck by the peak mobile usage time. It seems that while the television networks compete against each other for prime time viewers, collectively, they have competition from Facebook. 

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