At this point, you know that you have to be on mobile because that’s where your customers are (60% of online shopping time is now spent on mobile, according to comScore.)
And you also understand that it’s important to make your refer-a-friend program accessible everywhere, all of the time, so that anyone who interacts with your brand can help you acquire new customers.But…exactly how important is it to have your referral program available on mobile web or in your app? What are you missing out on if you don’t put referrals in people’s pockets and instead rely on your desktop site?
The short answer is: mobile referrals matter. A lot.
We examined data from five different retailers using the Extole referral marketing platform, comprising several hundred thousand advocates and millions in referral conversion revenue. Some are online-only retailers while others have brick and mortar locations in addition to ecommerce. We looked at where referral sharing (advocacy) takes place and also at where people receive those referrals.
Why You Can’t Miss Mobile Refer-a-Friend
Almost a third of referral shares happen on mobile, along with approximately a quarter of conversions. So it seems downright foolish to miss out on that advocacy and revenue by not making your refer-a-friend program available on mobile. What’s even more interesting, though, is that not having mobile referrals affects your desktop users, too. Let’s look at how referrals travel from advocate to friend, using examples from two representative retailers from our sample.
Retailer of Infrequently Purchased Items
For this retailer, which sells a high-priced item that people purchase about once a decade, mobile makes a much smaller impact than desktop does, but it still matters.
At 82%, the vast majority of sharing (the left side of the chart above) occurs on desktop (figures in red). Its mobile shares (in yellow) were lower than the overall average of 31%. Breaking it down further, 70% of shares came from a desktop and were opened by a friend on a desktop machine (right side of chart). 12% of shares started on desktop and were opened by a friend on a mobile device. That’s an important insight — the friend experience needs to be seamless on mobile.
Retailer of Frequently Purchased Items
Not surprisingly, mobile referral capability is especially critical for this retailer, which sells something that people purchase with regularity. The majority of sharing still takes place on desktop, but conversions skyrocket on mobile, almost doubling the overall average for the entire group and coming in at 2.5x that of the low-frequency item retailer.
Potential new customers open just under 40% of referrals from its advocates on their mobile devices. Without a referral program that works on mobile, this retailer could totally blow the chance to convert those friends.
That’s why you need your referral program to be mobile-optimized. If it’s not, you’re not just missing the opportunity to serve your advocates. You’re missing out on nearly a quarter of your conversions.