Every company has a different business case for building a mobile site. For some, mobile is simply a way for consumers to find their business. Other may rely on mobile for ecommerce purchases or even as a way to browse and explore content. Regardless of purpose, the difficulty is getting users to submit data on a mobile device that has a 2 inch keyboard.
How bad is the problem?
If your company uses Google Analytics and has set up goals to measure conversions, seeing your form conversion rates for mobile, tablet, and desktop traffic is easy, and a great place to start understanding how effective your forms are on mobile. The default report can be found in the Audience section under Mobile > Overview. Selecting the type of goals (“all goals” is a great place to start) from the Conversion pull down will show you how your site is performing. In the attached screenshot, you’ll see a frightening (but not uncommon) example where a mobile user is less than 1/10th as likely to submit a form than a desktop site visitor.
What can be done? While there are a number of factors that may be affecting the rate at which mobile users fill out forms, here are some of the more common causes:
Typing on a phone is time-consuming
Digital marketers all know about the correlation between longer forms and lower conversion rates, but this correlation becomes significantly stronger on mobile devices where typing is time consuming and often frustrating. Since you can’t make it faster to type, switch to shorter forms that require less typing. If testing has determined that a 5 field form (e.g. name first, name last, email, company, title) is best for desktop browsers to your site, consider requiring only 2 or 3 fields on mobile (e/g name, email). Simple things like having a “full name” field instead of a first and last name field can make the form less daunting and faster to fill out (and is usually easy to splice in your CRM to standard first/last fields). Consider other methods to append additional data to lead info- A number of vendors can provide you with that data based simply off of an email address (Data.com, InsideView, etc.).
Most mobile users don’t or can’t save downloaded files on their phone
Instead of just offering a PDF consider re-directing mobile users to HTML versions of the content, and then email them a PDF for download on their desktop. Giving a mobile site visitor the clear expectation that you will be emailing a copy of anything they view on mobile will remove the fear that they will be unable to view the content on their phone or that they may not have time to read it completely on the tiny screen.
The site isn’t optimized for mobile
If your site wasn’t designed with mobile in mind, a potential customer on their phone might simply get annoyed and give up without getting the information they came for. When a form field is clicked on a mobile device, most phones will attempt to auto-zoom and fill the screen with the entirety of the form. Make sure your web design team codes the form in such a way that this auto-zooming makes it easier, not harder, to fill out the form. Also, keep in mind that any results placement/size testing you did for desktop users can be totally invalid for mobile. Consider re-testing form size/placement purely on mobile devices to see what the best mobile layout for your forms are.
For most sites, getting mobile and desktop goal completions to align perfectly is not the goal. Consider why customers are visiting your site for mobile and determine what an “ideal” rate for conversion would be. And, as always with web-design/marketing issues, never stop testing!