BLOG-tabfriendlyMy husband was trying to buy Blue Man Group tickets recently from his iPad. Blue Man Group uses Ticketmaster for processing and buying the tickets, but Ticketmaster requires Flash to pick the seats he wanted. After a large amount of frustration and multiple attempts, he had to pull out his laptop, and start all over.

I had something similar happen – I was on my iPad and buying a magazine subscription as a gift for a friend. I entered my billing information, but needed to click a link in order to change name and address for the recipient. I’d click the link, and a window would flash for a second and disappear. I ended up having to pick up the phone and call the company and place my order over the phone. I told the rep the problem I was having and she asked me if I was on an iPad, as it was known issue.

The point of these two stories is that both of these sites were not iPad-friendly. (I’ve talked to friends with Android tablets, and they’ve ran into similar instances where sites didn’t work properly so this is not isolated to iOS devices.) Both these companies spend a lot of money marketing to people, bringing people to their websites hoping they will buy, yet their sites aren’t optimized to work well, regardless of the device a visitor is on. How many people get frustrated and don’t pick up the phone? How many just say heck with it and go buy from the competition?

What Does This Have to Do With PPC?

There are two compelling reasons:

  1. As of January 2014, 42% of American adults own a tablet. That’s up from 34% of adults in September.  The rate of adoption is massive. Tablets aren’t just for “youngsters” either – the highest rate of ownership is in the 30-to-49 year-old age range.
  2. Google does not allow you to exclude advertising on tablet devices. While you can prevent Google ads (either search or Display network) from showing on smartphones, Google does not allow for tablet exclusion. That ability went away as of July of 2013 when Google transitioned all accounts to Expanded Campaigns. (Their reasoning is that tablets are very similar to desktops.)

The problem is that tablet and desktop do not always convert the same. I did a quick review of 14 of my largest B-to-C ecommerce clients that also tracked revenue in Google Analytics. Tablet traffic ranged from 10.55% to 26% of overall site traffic. And not one single company had tablet conversion rates that were the same or nearly the same as their desktop traffic. The closest was a difference of 7%, but the majority ranged from 20 to 50% lower conversion rates, and one even had a tablet conversion rate that was 74% lower than their desktop traffic! And only three of them generated nearly the same percentage of revenue as their tablet traffic (for example, one client gets 19.97% of traffic from tablets and earns 20% of their revenue from the same). Most were much less, with the average being around 33% less tablet revenue than their tablet traffic with some as low as 70% less.

This doesn’t just affect PPC management –  it also affects a client’s natural listings, not just from tablets but also mobile devices. (You don’t want to know the statistics of conversion rate on mobile!) JumpFly is not an SEO company, but my point is that this problem affects more than just advertising dollars, it affects overall site revenue. If your sales are declining and you can’t figure out why, it’s very possible a tablet or mobile site user experience. This traffic is coming to your site and you can’t stop it, and it’s only going to increase. (I’m seeing desktop traffic decreasing and tablet and mobile traffic increasing in client after client after client.) Don’t alienate or frustrate your tablet (and mobile) customers. Make sure that your prospective customers the ability to shop on your site, from whatever device they want.