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Mobile optimization to improve your affiliate performance

With around a quarter of the global population now owning at least one mobile device, it’s no surprise that mobile ecommerce is also on a steep upwards trajectory.  Mobile is truly changing the way that consumers shop online and store. With 22 per cent of web traffic and 18 per cent of ecommerce sales already being delivered via mobile devices, affiliates can no longer afford not to tap into this market.

But how can affiliate marketers get their slice of the pie? By developing a mobile strategy that offers a seamless experience across any device. Regardless of whether you’re a home based blogger, SME, or multinational company, catering to your mobile audience has never been so important when monetising your website, especially if you’re in media.

So, if you’re new to affiliate marketing or just haven’t had time to make those all important tweaks, here are a few simple steps and things to consider while building your comprehensive mobile strategy.

 Your website

Click-through rates via mobile devices continue to increase rapidly, so once your ‘mobile customer’ arrives at your destination, you need to ensure their experience is as welcoming and effortless as possible. It’s no good having consumers visiting your site and then being faced with a desktop web page shrunk to fit on a mobile. It’s an experience for sure, but not the one they want or that you’re going to commercially benefit from. More often than not, they’ll simply move on to a competitor with more user-friendly interface.

With the average smartphone now having at least a 640 x 960 resolution, we no longer have to worry about image pixilation or content loss, which means every ecommerce site should be optimised for mobile to maximise its customer reach.

Accessible formatting is especially important when you think about touch vs. mouse user interfaces.  There’s still a gulf between the two. Touch interfaces are a long way off having the precision of a mouse so when designing/placing your interactive features (ads, links, general JavaScript etc. – the crucial monetising components) ensure they are neatly spaced and don’t take up the whole screen. If you’re relatively new to website building and want to make life easy for yourself, use a single column theme for example. It will keep you sane and your mobile users happy!

There can never be a “one-size-fits-all” solution to mobile. The key is to keep questioning your decisions including the most fundamental of all “does this design and functionality suit my target demographic?” If, for example, you’re a product reviewer, stripping your website of its all-important text in the name of “mobile first” won’t do you any good.  Ask yourself why consumers are visiting your web page in relation to the platform they’re visiting. If it’s via desktop, they probably want a full in-depth review. If it’s on a mobile, chances are they’re making a quick sanity check or comparison. So, having a separate dedicated mobile website could work wonders in this regard. To achieve this, you can install one of the readily available plugins that identifies the user platform and have it re-direct them to the mobile friendly domain.

If having a second domain doesn’t appeal, you could use responsive theme. Most domain suppliers should have these available. However, they do require a fair amount of coding to use effectively.

A lot of what we’ve covered so far involves “visual trimming”, but there’s a second layer to all of this. If you’re savvy enough (or have the funds to employ someone who is) trimming the underlying code also pays dividends. Reels and reels of heavy code amount to slow load times. If we’re aiming to provide a smooth mobile experience forcing a 3G mobile with poor signal to download a heavy website after already being redirected to its m-domain is not going to sit well with the consumer.

 The next step

So you’ve created the “perfect” mobile site and carefully filled it with well placed, nicely sized interaction points. But that’s only one step in the customer journey. Which page your consumer is directed to has as much, if not more, of an impact to the final result.

The landing page provides a vital transition from customer interest to customer action. You must carefully choose the ideal footing for their next step. The easiest way to achieve this is to shorten the interest to sale process (or funnel) as much as possible i.e. trimming how much work the consumer has to put in to get from one to the other. Link to the furthest point down the path to purchase as possible. If you’re partnering with a large retailer for example, don’t direct to their welcome page, link to the individually specified item. Make sure you’ve tested each link; you might be surprised by which landing page configurations actually convert best.

Is the landing page site mobile friendly? It seems to be an inescapable topic, but it is vitally important. You cannot afford to have weak links in your chain. Now is the time to be picky with whom you partner with. It will directly impact your income. 

 Now what?

Test it! Now you have created the experience it’s time to make sure it works. Try your website for yourself. If you’re unhappy with even a single aspect now is the time to change it. Once you’ve tested every page, every link, every feed, everything, you can relax a little and wait for some results. With these in hand you’ll be able to optimise accordingly. Congratulations, you’re well on the way to becoming a fully mobile integrated affiliate.