If you’re buying traffic on an advertising technology platform, October 2016 marked the beginning of a new world. That’s when the global use of mobile devices topped desktop use for the first time.

According to StatCounter, mobile now has a 54% share of the market and accounts for more than half of traffic in 19 out of 25 industries. It’s time to be treating mobile with equal importance to desktop traffic when buying traffic.

Equal—but not the same. Mobile traffic is mainly driven by people on the go, while desktop traffic is sedentary. Mobile users may be traveling or moving in a crowd where anyone can see their screen. They may be using wireless networks for which security is uncertain. Mobile visits are more likely to be interrupted. Users are more distracted; the bounce rate for mobile visits is about 40 percent higher than that for desktops.

This means mobile users are likely to be in a good situation in which to play simple games, shop, check maps or the weather, or browse the news. They are not usually in a suitable environment to make difficult purchases, fill out complicated forms or play extended RPG or shooter games (in which their avatars may “die” while the player exits a bus).

Mobile traffic drives brand awareness during commuting times.

mobile vs desktop traffic

Because mobile users are more distracted, mobile traffic is a great setting for brand awareness messages, while it also can maximize views for conversion. Native advertising, for games, for example, may be effective in mobile traffic because usually, the credentials for purchase are already on the device or in the application, but for other forms of more involved shopping experiences, clicks are less likely to translate to conversions than they would on a desktop.  

Other considerations for optimizing for mobile traffic include targeting traffic during hours when people are commuting. Also, the small screens on mobile devices require that landing pages be much cleaner than desktop landing pages, and responsive, for good campaign performance.

Optimize for desktop when you want focused users.

desktop vs mobile traffic

People spend almost twice as long, on average, on a desktop visit than on a mobile one, according to StatCounter. This varies considerably by industry—for recreation and hobbies, the average desktop visit is 150 percent as long as the average mobile visit, while for news and media, the average is more than three times as long.

It’s clear why desktop users are more likely to engage in tasks requiring focus and security—about 60 percent of visits related to the finance industry and to games, still occur on a desktop.  

If you want to target desktop users, again, think about hourly targeting. These users are often online during the workday—and after the kids have been put to bed.

mobile vs desktop traffic

So before you go looking for good deals on content discovery that will drive traffic, think about how mobile and desktop traffic are each suited to support your business, and how you can optimize each one to drive the traffic you need.  

See our articles on performance marketing, top of the funnel marketing, conversion rate optimization and media buying to learn exactly how to use this traffic to hit your goals.

Taboola is the world’s leading content discovery platform, serving 360B recommendations to over 1B unique visitors each month on the web’s most innovative publisher sites. To learn more about how Taboola can help you, contact us or start your campaign today.

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