Recently, I had the pleasure of joining the stage at Awin and ShareASale’s ThinkTank conference in Chicago to speak about the evolution of mobile and the influence that it is having on e-commerce. The room was filled with enthusiasm for the untapped potential mobile brings to the affiliate industry, so I thought I’d share some of the insights we discussed with you as well.

How the adoption of mobile has transformed commerce

It’s no secret to anyone that we spend a lot of time on our mobile phones. In fact, in 2018, we spent twice as much time on our mobile phones than we did on desktop. In addition, the time we’re spending as consumers has increasingly become more transactions oriented — we’re eager to make one-click transactions that are highly relevant in the context of what we want or need to do in the moment rather than have to sift through a clutter of ads. The rise of the mobile wallet has fueled the shift from the eyeball economy to the wallet economy. In London, for example, it’s already very common to pay for The Tube (their public rapid transit system) on one’s phone. For those of us who are in NYC, we are seeing a similar trend with mobile payment options appearing at an increasing number of Subway stations — an indicator that we’re getting increasingly comfortable with using our phones as a payment method.

Despite the significant time spent on our phones, transactions completed on our beloved devices are quite low. Purchasing behavior has lagged in mobile because it’s been difficult to create enticing experiences for consumers in mobile to make them effectively buy on a brand’s platform.

Brands are waking up to the fact that in order to sustain long-term profitable relationships with consumers, they need to do that through a whole host of channels — desktop, offline, and mobile.

“Mobile is a key entry point because it’s a device you’ll always have with you.”

For retailers like Amazon and Walmart, 75% to 80% of the time that consumers spend on their properties is in an app vs. mobile web. This reflects retailers’ increased focus in recent years on getting their consumers to become app users because app users are more loyal users.

Mobile web (mWeb) remains an important channel to acquire new app customers

In the desktop world, intent started with search (on Google), where you would log onto your computer to look for something and be taken somewhere. Today, consumers are going directly to an app with a purpose — whether it’s the TripAdvisor app to look for a hotel, the Kayak app to look for a flight or a rewards app to look for a deal. And if the app is not there, consumers use search and search almost always leads to mWeb. That is why mWeb properties are key to convert an mWeb user to an app user. Based on Button Marketplace data, we see that the LTV of a user acquired through an app is at least 23% higher than a user acquired through mWeb.

How brands and publishers can both benefit from a mobile commerce strategy

The affiliate industry has been built on the premise of renumerating sources of traffic when a transaction has been completed. However, what we’re seeing today is that traditional publishers are buried in display ads, tracking and fraud issues, and impressions that are not showing any true value. From a consumer perspective, ads don’t create value for users either — there’s such limited real estate on a phone screen that you oftentimes find yourself looking for the “button” to get rid of an ad. And as a result, users spend less time on these publisher properties.

What we here at Button believe in is that if you build a commerce strategy, you create more relevance and utility for the user that is aligned with their intent. These highly relevant experiences ultimately benefit the consumer, the publisher and the brand.

Foursquare to OpenTable

Take one of our partners, Foursquare, for example. If you’re a user looking at a restaurant on the Foursquare app, it’s likely that you want to eat. We’ll serve you a Caviar, Postmate or OpenTable button because you might want to eat that restaurant’s food right at that instant. If you’re not close to the restaurant, we’ll serve you an Uber button to take you to the restaurant. These are what we call contextual buttons that are highly relevant to the consumer — the utility of Foursquare to the user grows, and Foursquare sees an increased engagement in their app while the brand partners mentioned in this use case see more bookings as well. When you’re able to engage with new users and existing users, everybody wins.

Interested in finding out how Button can partner with you to jumpstart your mobile growth? Let’s talk.