The proliferation of mobile devices has changed the way we interact with our surroundings. We’re living in a mobile-first society, and it’s time for marketers to develop digital strategies that fit this reality.
PwC recently conducted a survey for the Interactive Advertising Bureau that indicated digital advertising in the U.S. totaled $72.5 billion in 2016. These numbers showed an increase of 21.8 percent compared to 2015. As expected, mobile advertising played a crucial role, accounting for 50.5 percent of total spend in 2016. What makes these amounts even more relevant is the fact that this was the first time that mobile has taken over desktop spending and that digital passed TV ad spending.
As mobile continues to grow at a rapid pace, it’s becoming the starting point of the consumer journey. Mobile marketing is a crucial part of a holistic digital strategy, and sticking with just desktop or just mobile will leave potential customers out.
In fact, 80 percent of people now use a smartphone, while 57 percent use more than one type of device, according to Google. We call these people cross-device users.
Mobile vs. Desktop
The latest Google mobile trends publication showed that one in every four users only uses a smartphone in an average day and no longer touches a desktop computer or tablet. Apps such as Snapchat have helped increase the time spent on mobile devices since that is the only place to engage with them. Having everything in the palm of your hand has also shifted the way people search for information. Nowadays, Google searches are happening more on smartphones than computers. With this information, it’s fair to think that marketing strategies should focus more on mobile.
However, the Digital Marketing Megatrends for 2017 showed lower conversion rates on mobile for certain industries, even though the breakdown of traffic between smartphones and desktop is similar or even higher on mobile.
What’s happening is that users tend to go to their mobile devices for initial research – and sometimes to complete the process of purchase. But this changes by industry. For sectors ranging from hospitality to senior living to real estate, people are using their mobile devices for initial research, but end up making a purchasing decision at their desktops.
On any given day, mobile makes up 20 to 30 percent of hotel searches, but is only responsible for 9 to 15 percent of the bookings, according to “From Search Engine to Booking Engine: Sojern’s 2017 Hotel Report.” On the other side, Google’s Travel Booking Trends Revealed in Let’s-Book-It Moments specifies that 94 percent of leisure travelers switch between devices as they plan or book a trip.
Think about planning your next vacation. Aren’t you likely to do some initial research on your smartphone at work or at your child’s soccer game, but then continue the process on your desktop once you’re home?
You’ve heard it before: divide and conquer. A recent study from comScore Mobile Metrix noted that mobile use is more popular in the morning, whereas laptops are utilized during the day and tablets during prime time in the evening. Stats like these emphasize the importance of a multichannel approach to advertising in addition to a responsive web design that works well on desktop and mobile.
To stay ahead of your competitors, you simply need to provide a consistent and enjoyable experience for both – or you’ll miss out.
Michael Mothner is the Founder and CEO of Wpromote, the largest independent marketing agency in the US. Along with founding Wpromote in 2001, he has also ventured into other enterprises such as ScanDigital and CouponPal, which was spun off of Wpromote’s performance marketing division into an independent company. A regular industry speaker and commentator, he has been featured by Inc. Magazine as one of '30 CEOs under 30 To Watch' and was the recipient of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.