Responsive Design for the Automotive Industry

Mobile devices are changing the way we develop and design our website. Whether your business is an ecommerce store, car dealership, or information portal, you are very likely receiving traffic from mobile devices and tablet computers. Creating a website to enhance the experience of your mobile visitors is extremely important and responsive design is the solution. A responsive website adapts to the screen size of the visitor and loads a different layout that is easy to read on that particular screen size.

Previously, many website owners have created a mobile version of their website on a subdomain. A common subdomain is Although this isn’t a bad practice, responsive design has changed the way your website loads for these visitors.

We recently launched a responsive website for one of our clients in the automotive industry. We have seen some impressive results along with some data points that required further investigation.

The metrics analyzed are visits, unique visits, bounce rate and average visit duration along with the dimensions of screen resolution, operating system and device brand.


The responsive website launched on April 19, 2013. This gave us with 5 months of data which was analyzed to find the effectiveness of the website redesign when compared to the previous year. The overall traffic was up 45% with 58% in unique visitors. Mobile traffic had a much greater increase at 132%.

Responsive Design for the Automotive Industry image 2013 11 05 1424Responsive Design for the Automotive Industry

Some interesting data points to mention from the above chart:

Mobile Traffic:

  • 2.07% drop in pages / visit
  • 19% drop in average visit duration
  • Bounce rate increased by 12.39% (5 percentage points)

These data points are very interesting especially from a mobile perspective. After the responsive website launched, it seemed like everything was going to improve positively, but I was very surprised to see the bounce rate, visit duration and pages/visit move in a negative direction.

A Logical Cause

After digging deeper into the data, the negative trend seemed to make more sense didn’t appear to be as bad as I initially thought. Normally, you want to see pages/visit, average visit duration move in a positive direction, but this increase could be because people are finding the information quickly and then leaving.

My theory was that when using a mobile device, you have a specific goal you are looking to achieve. Once you find this information, you leave the website quickly to get back to what you were doing. The average desktop user typically has more time to browse a website and look beyond their initial goal. This causes pages per visit and time on site to increase from a desktop computer.

To prove this theory, I looked much deeper to find out if this was true.

Homepage Exit

There was a 10% drop in the number of visitors exiting from the homepage on a mobile device. This proves that that less people are entering the homepage and leaving without visiting another page.

Responsive Design for the Automotive Industry image homepage trafficResponsive Design for the Automotive Industry

Mobile vs. Mobile

  • Mobile visit duration – around 00:00:41 less than pre-responsive
  • .10 less pages visited.
  • Bounce rate increased around 5%

Mobile Vs. Desktop

Responsive Design for the Automotive Industry image mobile vs desktopResponsive Design for the Automotive Industry

After the responsive site went live:

  • 1.58 fewer pages are being visited on mobile devices than desktop computers.
  • Average visit duration has improved and is 29 seconds less than desktop visits.
  • Bounce Rate has increased around 12% on mobile when compared to desktop

Tablet vs. Desktop

Responsive Design for the Automotive Industry image tablet vs desktopResponsive Design for the Automotive Industry

The comparison between tablet and desktop computer ended up being very close. This was very surprising.

After the responsive site went live:

  • .10 fewer pages are being visited on tablets than desktop.
  • Bounce Rate has increased around 2% on tablets when compared to desktop.
  • Average visit duration increased by 16 seconds after the responsive website launched.

Further analysis

The increase in bounce rate seems to be coming from several sources. First, I broke down the devices being used to access the website and found that the majority of mobile traffic is coming from the iOS and Android operating system.

  • Android devices had an increased bounce rate of 8 percentage points.
  • iOS – Bounce rate increased by 2 percentage points.
  • Mobile goal conversion rate has increased by 11% goal completions improved by 157%.

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