Mobile Vs Desktop: How To Reach The Consumer On The Go

There are few things in life that actually live up to their hype. For example: The Grand Canyon, The Internet, Tesla cars, Game of Thrones, peeling plastic off of a new electronics… And of course smartphones.

Remember when your grade school math teacher drilled long division into your head because: “You’re not always going to have a calculator in your pocket”?  Guess who has the last laugh now.

I called it a while ago that 2015 would be the year on mobile. It looks like the world is beginning to agree.

Here’s why:

During their 2015 Adwords Performance Summit, Google announced that for the first time, a long time speculation came true: mobile is beating desktop in the search game. Honestly, this should not come as a real surprise to marketers. With the growing number of apps and smartphones available on the market, and the fact people are always on the go has resulted in the growth of a mobile concierge economy. Combine that with the long awaited Mobilegeddon of Google, and you have all the makings of a coup d’etat for the digital crown.

It is an inescapable truth that mobile devices have become a fundamental part of life. It is not only the screen glued Millennial’s that sleep within an arm’s length of their phones. We feel lost and disconnected when we cannot find them. I can’t be the only one who has ever experienced a phantom vibration when I don’t have my phone in my pocket.  The world is of course faster paced today and we are constantly on the move within it. So all of this mobility begs the question:

How do you reach the consumer on the move?

You can see there are numerous trends appearing around the country now if you followed the news from SXSW, or any of the other trade shows marketers frequent. One growing in popularity that I foresee really making a significant impact in the digital world is that a number of retailers have begun installing beacons inside their stores. This technology essentially is the next level of CRM (customer relationship management) device that allows for a unique and personalized bottom funnel sale /remarketing ability exclusively to mobile devices.

For another we can look to an older medium radio for inspiration. Traditional radio is sharply declining. In its place are Internet radio services like Pandora and Spotify which bring in new listeners in droves. Why is this? Simple: mobility and personalization. Consumers want things now, and they want them, the way they want them.

Uber-For-Everything
^Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal

People are commuting farther and more frequent these days, and to help them get where they are going (mad men nod) they are using traffic crowd source apps like Waze and Google Maps to help them get where they are going.  This is an opportunity.

It is said that there is now a Uber for everything. This rise of a concierge economy is powered almost exclusively through the prevalence of mobile. Need a cab? Summon an Uber or Lyft. Want some booze but don’t want to drive? Drizly or Saucey have you covered. Have to get some laundry and dry cleaning done? Washio has your back. You can even order a doctor or a massage using the apps Heal or Zeel.

I bring this up because each of these services has an audience that is on the go. There are advertising opportunities available within each of these, as well. Google Display Advertising can allow you to place your message within these apps giving you the ability to reach people during their commute or free time.

So which is better Mobile or Desktop?

A hard question but to answer it, I’m going to take another page out of radio’s play book. Imagine search as a Hot Clock. There are high traffic times and low traffic times. Times when you know people are more likely to be on desktop, and times when they almost certainly have to be mobile. The folks over at the IDG Knowledge Hub put together a killer graphic that goes into this with a little more detail. Click here to check it out.

It is not just search in which mobile wears the crown. Take a brief look over any campaign reports from Facebook or Twitter to see how mobile your target audience is. If you separate out the placement of your ads I would wager you are likely to see a stark contrast in the CTR and impressions between mobile and desktop.

Mobile IT purchases and when people are most active on their mobile.

So should I drop desktop entirely?

Not by any means. While I am clearly an advocate of the strength of mobile over desktop, “traditional computers” (going to coin the phrase now) will still reach a broad demographic. It depends on who your audience is and what day part you want to hit them. Be honest: how many times have you watched a YouTube video or did a little Amazon shopping while on a computer at work?

When buying things online, there is still some level of distrust from consumers. Google’s Mobilegeddon aimed to relieve some of that hesitation and make the internet a bit more mobile friendly place. The trend is that consumers are doing research on their mobile devices, but when it comes to time to buy, they return to their desktops. A integrated marketing campaign will, as always, produce much better results.

What does this all mean for digital advertisers?

Bottom line? The ability to meet your target audience on the go and where they work was once a luxury, but now, it is  essential. The traditional sales funnel is changing and we as [digital] marketers must change with it.

Looking for more analytical proof about why mobile is important? Check out this blog on StrataBlue to learn more.

Want to talk more about how to advertise inside apps and search to reach your customers while on the go?

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