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Earlier this year, ActBlue unveiled ActBlue mobile, our interface for those of you who access the web via smartphone. Since then, we've had ample time to take a look at growth patterns and problems with mobile giving.

In my initial post, I talked about ActBlue Mobile as a way to meet donors where they are. That's becoming more and more the case. In May 2010, mobile users made up 2.6% of ActBlue visits. By October 2010, less than half a year later, they'd risen to 5.6%, a 72% increase. Moreover, overall mobile web usage is skyrocketing: according to Cisco Systems, mobile data traffic will double every year between now and 2014. That's a natural outcome of device convergence. It doesn't make sense to buy dedicated devices like a computer and internet connection (~$200+, and monthly fees, plus portability issues for desktops) a cellular phone (~$40+, plus monthly charges or prepaid minutes), and a digital camera (~$100+) when you can get all three of those functions in a $200 smartphone.

(Fun fact: there was more mobile data traffic in 2010 (.pdf, p.2) than there was on the entire internet in 2002 [See p.2].)

In other words, mobile web is accessible–and will become increasingly accessible–to a far broader pool of people. That dovetails nicely with ActBlue's mission of making it easier for people to participate in the Democratic fundraising process. Folks who don't have access to a computer or aren't comfortable making a donation from their work computer will have a way to make their voice heard in the political process.

However, to enable that to happen we need to play nice with mobile web browsers. As our pool of mobile users grew, we noticed that they tended to convert (jargon: not just visit, but actually make a donation) at a far lower rate than non-mobile visitors. The solution was to optimize our donation form for mobile access, making it more intuitive and easier for mobile users to navigate.

That simple fix led to a 160% increase in the conversion rate. That's crucial because as more and more people get smartphones, more and more people will be check their email on their phones. And, since email fundraising is still the gold standard in online politics, and a 160% increase in the conversion rate for mobile users is nothing to sniff at.

There's more to do in this area, and we're hard at work on it. It's just another way we're keeping Democrats ahead of the curve.

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