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The Dynamics of Screen Size and Resolution for Conversion

by Nadav Dakner

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) … is the difference between browsers and buyers.

You see, all CRO comes down to one, simple goal: to let people do what they want on your website as simply, smoothly, and as best they can. In other words, to get them to click.

And to get them to click, you have two options: guesswork or data. As helpful and well meaning as they might be, expert opinions, best practices, even third-party case studies all fall into the first category, guesswork.

You need data—real numbers from real users on your real site.

Now sure, lots of us A/B test headlines, subject lines, images, calls to action, and even entire layouts. But, the most overlooked and underutilized element of CRO is screen size and resolution.

What’s the Story on Screen Resolution?

The reality is today’s digital shopper is using a host of devices to view your website and emails. That means, a one-size-fits-all approach to screen sizes and resolutions simply won’t work.

Here’s a quick glance at just how diverse and developed these sizes and resolutions are.
Screen Resolution Stats
Back in 2009, computer screens were a mere 1024 x 768 pixels, or in widescreen format, 1366 x 768. The original iPhone had a screen resolution of 320 x 480.

Oh, how things have changed!

Gone are the days of 800 x 600 (or worse) 14-inch screens. Your users want to view your website on devices ranging from a 3” smartphone to 46” smart TV and every possible size in between.

The size of the standard desktop monitor is growing. Amazon’s top-10 list of monitors only includes one sub-20” model, while most are 21 to 27”. A few years ago a 19” monitor was the exception, but now it is considered sub-par.

So called “other” devices are also on the rise, showing us that there is no such thing as a few standard resolutions, but a multitude of different ones that we need to consider.

So too, smartphone screens have grown, with manufacturers and users settling for 5” as the new norm. The chart below shows how the screen sizes of new phones have changed since 2007.
Screen size of Smartphone 2014
The iPhone 6, for example, has 1334 x 750 pixels on a 5-inch screen — that’s far more than even the standard 14” computer screen in 2009.

Tablets with sizes from 7” to 20” have also created a whole new market sector and are poised to replace laptops within two years in most markets.
worldwide tablet pc shipment forecast
Sure, you can go laissez-faire, but if you want to ensure results, optimization is the way to go. Don’t leave things to chance.

What Are the Implications for Optimization?

All this means there is no longer a one-size-fits-all approach for your digital content. Even a simple site metrics tool like Google Analytics should help you determine your target audience’s mix of screen size used, which can help you act accordingly to ensure the most impact.

However, it’s not enough to know the percentage of readers who accesses your site on mobile. One good starting point for conversion optimization is measuring and understanding what is happening on your current web pages and email newsletters.

Website Optimization

This is where Crazy Egg comes in. No other optimization tool gives you so much for so little. Crazy Egg web page heatmaps are priceless to anyone optimizing their site for conversions.

There are a few other tools you can use to measure how effectively your web pages are converting.

TrenDemon

Users take thousands of different routes through your website. TrenDemon finds the routes that are most profitable and automatically brings more of your visitors onto them using personalized content recommendations and calls to action, which can boost conversion.

TrenDemon Dashboard

Screenshot source

This insight allows you to identify top converting pages and paths, so you can make better decisions about which content to create in order to achieve the best ROI. This include topic and length, as well as the best sources and networks for promotion.

Google Content Experiments

If you want to test the effects of different web pages on your conversion rate, then Content Experiments from Google is a phenomenal and free tool. You will need Google Analytics installed on your site.

Google Content Experiments Screenshot

Image Source

This is the simplest way to run A/B randomized tests of your content pages, to see how varying your content (including headlines, length, topics, and other factors) will affect impact. You can then use Crazy Egg to find the hotspots on each page.

Email Optimization

There are two aspects of email optimization that you need to consider:

  • Making sure that your emails are targeted to the right users
  • Organizing the content of each email to maximize conversions

Segmenting your list is the key to targeting your emails.

Responsive email design is the key to organizing your email content.

Statistics on mobile email marketing tell us that up to 70% of emails are opened on mobile devices. If your newsletter looks bad, many users will delete it rather than struggle. The chances of anyone opening it again on a bigger screen are very slim. You must make it look good on anything from a 3” smartphone screen to an 11” tablet screen.

GetResponse

Email analytics allow you to segment your list very easily. This could be done according to location, so you can send US-only offers to US subscribers. If you were to send these offers to subscribers in other countries,those subscribers would rapidly become dissatisfied and might even unsubscribe.

You could segment your email list according to the time previous emails were opened or whether previous emails were opened at all. There are many possibilities.
Email Analytics Overview
GetResponse also gives you hundreds of responsive email templates, which ensure optimal readability regardless of screen size or resolution. It is always easier to change the colors or layout using a template than start from scratch.

Conclusion

These tools essentially help you keep track of your audience’s behavior, enabling you to optimize your content to be readable on any device. That’s invaluable for conversion optimizers — t’s the only way to ensure your message reaches the intended audience and persuades them to act.

Start by digging into your analytics. Once you’ve found the pages that need optimizing, adapt them to be readable on any screen size and optimize for conversions. Make sure you’re using a responsive theme or develop a mobile version of your site.

But remember, this isn’t a once-and-done project. Device trends change, screen sizes and user experiences fluctuate, and your website or email will need to look beautiful as well as be useful in order to convert browsers into buyers.

Of course, it would be a good idea to start with a design that already incorporates best practices, so it’s easier to optimize. Take a hint from some of these sample landing pages, which can be a good starting point, using designs and techniques that have already proven success.

Over to You

Have you checked your user statistics? What screen sizes and resolutions are people using to view your website? What tools are you using to optimize for conversions? Please share your thinking using the comments box below.

35 Comments

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Nadav Dakner

Nadav is a veteran online marketer and the Founder & CEO of InboundJunction, an Israel-based content marketing company. Nadav helps well-known brands in boosting their online visibility through PR, SEO and Social Media.

35 COMMENTS

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  1. George Mathew says:
    March 26, 2015 at 8:45 am

    I never really thought much about the influence of screen size on conversions. Font size and conversions do have a link but screen size is something I haven’t charted yet. Good food for thought.

    • Gail Gardner says:
      March 26, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      The main challenge is usability on different devices. For example, any buttons to push need to be easy to reach from a mobile device with your thumb. This is all getting very complicated. How a site displays is different for me on Linux in the same browser as it is on Windows 7 in the same browser. Then add in all the different OS, browser, smartphones, tablets.

      Eventually there may be advanced platforms – especially for ecommerce – that automatically optimize across hundreds of devices so the site owner doesn’t have to deal with it. Solutions that find a way to do that best will eventually win over older platforms that don’t.

  2. Shihabudheen K says:
    March 23, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Hey Nadav,
    You have done a deep analysis and research on screen size resolution. Kudos
    I usually get traffic from Desktop.
    I never knew these kind of things. You helped me on learning so many things about Conversion rates, Resolution etc…
    Thanks for that

    Gonna Make my site responsive so that it is well viewed on every platform.

    Thanks

  3. Michael Aldea says:
    March 22, 2015 at 5:26 am

    I think the bottom line should be that you need to prioritize the content you want your visitors to see while taking into account the device they are viewing it on. We all want to think that we want our mobile devices to do everything our full sized, full powered devices do, but that usually isn’t the case. I wil respond to content differently on my laptop differently than I do on my phone. It is something we need to be mindful of if we want our content marketing goals to be met.

    Great article Nadav!

  4. Vernessa Taylor says:
    March 21, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Hi Nadav,

    Exellent coverage of what we need to factor in … we can’t plop all of our eggs into one basket anymore (though I’d like to and would rather the device makers settle on some standards and we not have to do so much to make this a readable reality).

    Some of the tools you mentioned, CrazyEgg and TrenDemon are actually making us smarter. I daresay many of us would not know all the metrics and pieces of the pie we should look at. The tools not only measure and report out, but draw our attention to areas that we need to work on to tease out better conversions.

  5. Sherman Smith says:
    March 21, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Hey Nadav,

    This was an eye opener!

    Yes we should put more focus on CRO and incorporate it into our marketing. I just read an article on how google plans to have an algorithm specifically for mobile optimization. If your blog isn’t mobile friendly then it can get penalized.

    With that said, it’s would be a good idea of utilize the tools you mentioned here. I’m definitely going to bookmark this post and put these tools to use!

    Thanks for sharing! Have a great weekend!

    I found your post on kingged.com under the category of Internet Marketing
    http:// kingged.com/the-dynamics-of-screen-size-and-resolution-for-conversion/

    • Nadav Dakner says:
      March 23, 2015 at 3:14 am

      Hey Sherman,

      You are right on the money, except the fact that Google doesn’t just plan on doing it… They ARE doing it already. It makes a lot of sense when thinking about it, as why should they rank a website if you need to struggle with reading the content?

      It’s a good idea to be smart about this and implement a responsive design, which is recommended by Google itself (it provides the best user experience).

      Check your site here:
      google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ (by Google)
      validator.w3.org/mobile/ (abnormally low scores but implement the tips)

  6. Prajwal says:
    March 21, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Hi Nadav,
    Great post indeed,
    I never knew these things,but i learned so many things about Conversion rates,colors etc…
    Really loved it
    thanks for the share
    looking forward for more from you! 🙂
    Regards
    Prajwal

  7. Gopala Krishnan says:
    March 21, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Done your Reaseach well Nadav…. If we understand our vistior’s well we can optimize our themplate according to there devices and will will increase in revence and social share… And few people are using smart TV to brower internet too..

  8. Sunday says:
    March 21, 2015 at 12:41 am

    Indeed, there is no one-size-fit all approach to screen resolutions. Believing this is simply crazy!

    A balance should be struck when creating website resolutions and how the kind of tool that will readily increase optimization.

    Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) should be minded as one of the important strategies that determine the success of every website. However, testing and applying the right tool will make a difference for optimization.

    • Nadav Dakner says:
      March 21, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      Well said Sunday! You’re doing an amazing job with Kingged!

  9. Yavan says:
    March 20, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Hi Nadav,

    You shared some great things to us, really informative. Really helpful to know our blog resolutions for different devices.
    Thanks for sharing.

    – Yavan

    • Nadav Dakner says:
      March 23, 2015 at 4:48 am

      You’re welcome Yavan, thanks for reading!

  10. Hadharm Hiidee says:
    March 20, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Hi Nadav, Nice and informative post here. There have been a time I tought about this but now I have more knowledge on it.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Nadav Dakner says:
      March 20, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      Thanks for reading Hadharm! Glad you found this helpful.

      Your blog doesn’t have a responsive theme and I think you could definitely benefit from having one. You could be missing out on potential visitors coming from tablets or Mobile.

  11. mike says:
    March 20, 2015 at 5:02 am

    Month by month most visitors come through normal computer but every month a small percentage are from mobile devices. I try to make sure that the site is always responsive to those visitors and use a responsive theme. Imaging done with mobile optimization in mind is actually essential because if the sit appears as a big picture, takes to long to load or is confusing then they would leave immediately and who can blame them.

  12. Brian Hughes says:
    March 19, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Great post Nadav – you have some good data here and make some great points. It’s awesome that this blog uses Click to Tweet!

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      March 19, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      Glad you like the Click to Tweets, Brian. Love that plugin. 🙂

  13. Kristi Hines says:
    March 19, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Great research Nadav!

    • Nadav Dakner says:
      March 19, 2015 at 1:59 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to read Kristi 🙂

  14. Avishai Sam Bitton says:
    March 19, 2015 at 3:08 am

    If most of your traffic is coming from a certain screen size this can say a lot about your audience and the actual locations they are coming from.

    For example: I had once a site that had traffic coming from desktop resultion most hours of the day but at night there as always a drop. I assume until now that people liked browsing my site from work where they don’t use a laptop.

    Anyway, great article!

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      March 19, 2015 at 12:23 pm

      Good points, Avishai. Thanks for sharing.

  15. David Leonhardt says:
    March 18, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    The stats are fascinating…and overwhelming. How is a small operation supposed to get a handle on this, let alone keep a handle on it in an ever-changing environment?

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      March 19, 2015 at 8:54 am

      David, you aren’t alone in feeling that way. There’s no easy answer, because it takes time to separate the really important tactics from the ones that look amazing but won’t impact your bottom line. Here at Crazy Egg, we’re trying to help you do that. Best of luck!

    • Vernessa Taylor says:
      March 21, 2015 at 5:46 pm

      Well, David, you know my sentiments on it. 🙂 As Nadav has so eloquently pointed out, one size doesn’t fit all, and site owners have to make some moves to keep up with mobile. But technology, as has been proven again and again, has a way of “hearing” what we need adapting to those needs. “Overwhelming” is one of those cries that technology (or rather the tech innovators) have answered … from phoning to faxing to computing.

      I’m ever-hopeful that some magical tech will appear that makes everything responsive that needs to be responsive. Meanwhile, these tools and tips bring us closer. 🙂

  16. Ann Smarty says:
    March 18, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    What a timely and resourceful piece, Nadav! This is something I’ll definitely to go back to a few times a month! Thanks!

    • Nadav Dakner says:
      March 18, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      Thank you Ann! Glad you liked it 🙂

  17. Gail Gardner says:
    March 18, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    I’m actually running TrenDemon on my site. It has increased time on site and page views. The longer it runs the more interesting data it accumulates.

    I would love to interview someone who is an expert on email segmentation. No doubt many businesses could really benefit from optimizing what they’re doing with their email marketing. Many bloggers have lists they created by offering an incentive – and then never do anything with them. I should write about that today as I am guilty of that myself.

    • March 18, 2015 at 6:36 pm

      Great point, Gail! It’s hard to keep all the plates spinning. But if you go to the trouble of segmenting your list, you really should do something with those segments. 🙂

      • Gail Gardner says:
        March 19, 2015 at 1:52 pm

        Many aren’t even doing anything with their entire list. We should at least ensure the last email in an autoresponder series suggests they subscribe to our content. Imagine all the lists that get built, but never get used again.

        I did write that post yesterday with tips on growmap.com/mailing-lists What to Do with Mailing Lists.

        • Jordie van Rijn says:
          March 21, 2015 at 11:46 am

          hi Nadav , Thanks for mentioning me as a reference in the article.

          Gail, you are right, segmentation has been one of the big advantages of email marketing. The trick is to match the right data with the content and timing.

          I’d love to discuss email segmentation and provide some tips !

          • Gail Gardner says:
            March 26, 2015 at 3:14 pm

            The top takeaways video from Marketing Experiments 2015 had some really interesting case studies related to better segmentation. It included an easy way to segment an existing list. https:// www. youtube.com/watch?v=hRaoB1mNiDE

          • Kathryn Aragon says:
            March 26, 2015 at 4:58 pm

            Nice. Thanks, Gail!

  18. Erik says:
    March 18, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Really interesting information, Nadav.
    I enjoyed the media you shared too.

    With mobile raising, we should definitely consider how our web pages are displayed on different devices and computer screens.
    Most of all, I think about landing pages and call to action buttons.

    • Nadav Dakner says:
      March 19, 2015 at 9:46 am

      that’s exactly right Erik! It’s amazing how so many people overlook such a crucial aspect that could really hurt user experience and conversions.

      For instance, you can use quirktools.com/screenfly/ to see how your web page looks on ot her devices – you might encounter serious bugs or notice how certain elements are not viewed properly.

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