Did Responsive Web Design Influence Purchase Rates?

- July 22, 2015

Now that you moved your ecommerce website to responsive design, you probably want to start analyzing year-over-year (YoY) insights on purchase behavior. Did the rate of site visitors who completed a purchase increase? By how much? The launch of a responsive website comes with new ways you can utilize Google Analytics. If you previously had separate websites to provide a desktop experience and a mobile experience, you may have been comparing different sites in Google Analytics. Now, you can see all of your data in one place.

If you need to show website growth, you do not want to only present the same URL YoY – what about all of last year’s mobile visitors? To draw accurate insights, you may need to merge the metrics from your primary site and your mobile site to determine the approximate total number of visitors and pageviews.

Pull the metrics from your main URL and your mobile URL to determine a total number of sessions, users, pageviews, and other metrics that occur on both sites. Now, you can compare that total to the numbers you see in your current Analytics platform. Otherwise, you may have been only counting mobile users on your new site and forgetting about any historic mobile visitors.

What is your conversion?

Was the conversion metric, such as completing a purchase on an ecommerce site, previously possible on your mobile site? One of the major differences in a responsive site is that all of the actions available to someone on a desktop computer can be made available to someone on a mobile device.

Think about a site, http://www.example.com that moved to a responsive design in Year 2. Here, you see that there are metrics that you would find under separate URLs in your Google Analytics account, some for http://www.example.com (desktop version) and more for http://m.www.example.com (mobile version).

In this scenario, it is important when thinking about the purchase rate increase to take into account that there were 50,000 mobile visitors in Year 1 who could not complete a purchase and they could in Year 2. Although purchase rates did increase by allowing all of those mobile users to make a transaction, those users should still be accounted for. Therefore the purchase rate went from 12% (30K purchases from 250K sessions) to 15% (65K purchases from 330K sessions).
RWD Affecting Purchase Rates MS - 7-13-15 IMAGE 1
In Google Analytics, you can still drill down to purchases by combining the type of device with an event associated to a purchase.

RWD Affecting Purchase Rates MS - 7-13-15 IMAGE 2

Responsive web design drives a superior user experience and Google rewards those sites that are mobile-friendly. It is important, though, to make sure you draw the most accurate inferences as you start this journey in a responsive web world.

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