500% Confidence in Mobile First

For several years, digital companies and their executives have praised the “mobile first” strategy: start with a product that works well on a 4” screen, and it won’t be hard to make it work on a full-size computer. Try building your product mobile second, and you’ll be compressing an entire desktop interface into a fraction of its original size, hoping not to lose frustrated users in the process.

When we first launched TradeIt, we were lured by incumbent investing brands to build desktop solutions while we continued to have a mobile strategy. After almost a year of activity, we no longer dedicate resources or time to custom desktop solutions. Instead, we’ve sharpened our focus on mobile apps, messaging platforms, and AI & bot solutions. These three factors drove this decision:

  1. User Behavior
  2. Security & Trust
  3. False Profits

1. User Behavior

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 2.29.28 PM.png

Source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report, 2016

People spend 60% of their digital time on mobile devices, and this stake is only increasing as mobile continues to replace desktops for investing information. As we illustrated in the changing eco-system, many incumbent brands are maintaining legacy websites and ignoring the massive mobile opportunity under their noses. The agile competitors are building user-friendly mobile apps and chatbots that leverage behavioral analytics to constantly keep their users engaged. As a result, they’ve captured a valuable user base with high household income and high levels of education, while incumbent sites lose sticky & valuable users.

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 2.29.39 PMTradeIt’s mobile partners see 800 times more conversions to order than their desktop counterparts. Mobile users tend to be hyper sticky, so when they browse an investment app, they browse with intent to trade. The average order size is 500% higher on mobile than it is on desktop, so you could say we are 500% confident in mobile trading.

2. Security

In the early days of building one of the larger investing sites, the team spent countless hours trying to solve for “desktop security” with large financial institutions. As desktop became ubiquitous, the security risks increased, and users became trained to be skeptical of online security, prompting them to navigate to their financial institutions via advertising “buttons,” bookmarks, search and icons.

appletouch_bg2Mobile has superior verification technologies that allow app publishers to create secure and convenient experiences that incorporate users’ financial information. As we wrote about previously, native mobile apps are vetted by Apple or Google, smartphones require a password log in, and apps can enable TouchID in addition to existing credential requirements. There are 4 lines of defense for security when using a smartphone for consuming financial institution information in publisher apps- that is 4 more lines of defense than a desktop browser.

3. False Profits:

A common rule of thumb is that a business’ value is based on its capacity to generate future profits. Desktop profits are a shrinking, and most sites talk about harvesting. While investors are already migrating to mobile for investing news & information, financial service marketers have not caught up, and still spend disproportionately on legacy media. Changing user behaviors essentially guarantee that desktop ad performance will continue to decline, leaving financial publishers searching for replacement dollars.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 4.44.47 PM

Source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report, 2016

As a result of the ad-spend disparity, publishers struggle to financially support their mobile investment products, which are growing at top speed while their desktop traffic remains stagnant. Financial advertisers will need to find the apps that have captured the mobile generation of engaged users, which entails partnering with a fragmented list of partners. With only 10% of financial advertisers budgets dedicated to mobile, the mobile ad opportunity is open for business. As one client told us, “mobile is table stakes” at this point, and financial marketers shouldn’t plan on arriving late.

Why the title “False Profits?” Today’s desktop ad spend is not sustainable. Users spend their time on mobile, so that is where the true value lies for advertisers. Through mobile ad partnerships with first movers, we’ve seen mobile produce strong returns on ad dollars. The mobile ad opportunity is huge, and we would rather be early to the mobile blastoff than shower in desktop’s false profits, before the dollars inevitably dry up.

TradeIt will continue to offer self-serve desktop solutions on our developer site, but our team is focused & dedicated to building great retail investing infrastructure for mobile, messaging and AI. Our metrics and measurements have spoken, and mobile first is the best route forward.


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