Bad Mobile Experience? Learn From Google Play

I’ve always used Spotify to listen to music but as it was time to renew my subscription, I decided to re-evaluate my options. This is when I decided to give Google Play a try.

I downloaded the app, started using it, and I loved it! I was ready to pay for a subscription, so I tried to find a way to upgrade, and tried again… and again…. and again… but nothing.

There was no place to upgrade anywhere on the app.

No buttons. 

No calls to action. 

None of the very common “how-to's” were available, not even under my profile settings.


The “account type” section you see above is not clickable.

My second attempt to upgrade was to go to the main dashboard and keep skipping to the next song until I would get to the message of: “upgrade” again (you get limited amount of skips with the free version), but this didn’t work either…

As you see, I only got a, “you’re out of skips” message with a call to action button that said, “got it” instead of “upgrade” (what it should have been). Once you click on “got it” (again) nothing happens.

This poor mobile experience is surprising considering many people download and use this app on their phones.

Seriously, if Google is having trouble with their mobile conversion optimization, what is the hope for the rest of us?

Here is what you can learn from this experience…that you can carry into your startup.

Lesson #1: It’s not all about beauty

Don’t be so concerned about the beauty of your website or app that you leave conversion optimization behind.

“Remember there is psychology behind the design of a website or app. They are not just a beautiful piece of artwork, but an interactive, functional, engaging, selling machine.”- Andrea Mendoza 

Note that psychology, indeed, is involved with all aspects of the user experience, and logical flow of events. 

Answer these questions before working on your design:

- How is my sales funnel going to look (what is step 1, 2, and 3 that will lead to conversion)?
- What will be my main call to action? (e.g., upgrade, free trial, 30-day trial.)
- Where are my calls to action going to be located? Alway have multiple, visible locations.

If you take the time to answer these questions, you’ll have a more user-friendly and optimized site.

Lesson #2: Have a clear roadmap to conversion

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”   -Lewis Carroll. 

Well, conversion optimization is a bit different. It’s more like:

“If you don’t know where you want your users to go, no road will take them there.”

Without a structure or a blueprint to follow, users will not know where to go. This is even more important on mobile devices where it’s more tedious to browse through multiple pages to get to an answer.

Try having a couple of friends, or even strangers in a coffee shop, try out your optimization. Because you have tried out your own information so many times -- you know where to click -- they don’t.

This exercise can be very revealing.

With mobile, you have a smaller space to showcase your content, use it wisely with a dummy-proof roadmap. 

Answer these questions as a guide to help you build your roadmap:

1. How am I going to attract visitors and where will they land? This is especially important if you’re running campaigns that have custom landing pages. You want the message in your ads to be consistent with the message on your landing page. Otherwise, users will feel disconnected and leave.
2. What are my users going to do as soon as they land on my page? This answer varies according to your industry and offering. If you’re asking for a big investment, you probably want to give them a good amount of information to digest before giving them an option to sign up. If you’re looking for a small commitment such as a sign up for a free pdf, you may want to be more direct in your message. 

3. How am I going to convert my visitor? Offering white paper, free trial, etc.

Bonus: Think about lead storage and nurturing system. Will you be using a CRM, or a spreadsheet? How often will you follow up with your leads if they don’t convert right away? Is important to have these things in mind to make the appropriate integrations.

Lesson#3: Give a clear, easy, and compelling reason to convert

This lesson may sound obvious, but it is often the obvious that we forget to implement the most. 

“Not only have a visible way to convert, but an appealing reason to convert.”

Beyond having a clear way to convert, give users a good enough reason to convert. This reason should be focused on them, not you or your business, and it should be expressed through benefits.

Have these tips in mind:

1. Make your language easy to understand. Stay away from elaborate, overstated sentences with “fancy” and cliche words. Simple, straightforward and sweet is the best way to go.

2. Make it dummy-proof…don’t make users work too hard to find a way to convert. The call to action to convert should be extremely visible and accessible. Have multiple calls to actions in key places. For example, Google Play should’ve had a button to convert under my settings (at least).

3. Be consistent. If you’re going to say “get a free trial,” then make all your calls to action say the same thing. Having different calls to action may confused the reader to think there are different upgrade levels.

Final Notes:

Here you have a beautiful app with a lot of potential, but no easy way to convert. There were no calls to action or links to encourage the user to upgrade. I couldn’t even find any place to upgrade on the app.

If I could, I would have left a huge frowning emoji -- or worse.

The website, on the other hand, is very user friendly. This was a big surprise considering that more people use this service through their phones.

This means that somewhere in the process, the mobile conversion optimization stayed behind. 

Learn from this!

Don’t leave mobile behind on your own site.

Mobile traffic is growing exponentially and it is taking over the time people spend on a desktop. Invest in your mobile experience as much time as you invest in your desktop experience.


- User experience is more important than beauty.
- There is psychology behind the design of a website or app -- and the website ease of service    leaves a deep psychological impact.
- If you don’t know where you want your users to go, no road will take them there
- Have clear calls to action and a compelling reason to convert