Is Desktop Still Relevant for your Business Performance ?

It’s not a secret that mobile is increasingly taking a strong place in our society. Since 2007, the divide between desktop and mobile made it difficult and confusing to offer a multitude of new opportunities in digital marketing. More recently, the number of mobile users exceeded desktop users. As a result, the advertising industry claimed it necessary to focus on mobile and increase investments in it.

In the face of such an uprise on mobile, is it still relevant to invest in desktop? We believe a digital marketing strategy should always include desktop based on multiple factors such as the type of content searched, e-commerce and the target audience.

The type and time of consuming the content 

The type of content researched will guide the user to one type of platform over another. Mobile, has the advantage of responding to the user immediately: quick research, news and highlights, communications, etc. Most of these activities are carried out using mobile applications, as indicated by FlurryMobile
On the other hand, desktop is used more by users for thorough research, consulting on more complex or visually charged content, and for activities requiring a heightened security level.

Source: Comscore

The use of different platforms also varies on the time of day. Mobile is used more often in early mornings and in the evenings for entertainment, while during the day, at work, desktop is mostly used.

Source: Comscore

Therefore, knowing how and when the user prefers to consume content offered to them, a company can strategically allocate its investment to the appropriate platform(s).

The type of product offered online

The type of products sold is also an influencer to the user’s choice of platform. An impulsive and inexpensive purchase is most likely to occur on mobile, while a more cautious and  expensive purchase will happen on a desktop. Products such as video games, movies and digital content are more likely to be purchased on a mobile, while products such as computer hardware and airplane tickets are purchased on a desktop.

Two types of retailers, whom we work with, illustrate this well. The first is in the restaurant industry, and it’s recorded to have similar number of transactions on both desktop and mobile. The second industry being travel, records 14% of its transactions on mobile versus 86% on desktop.

However, the conversion path is not linear. According to an Adobe research, despite 60% of the shopping time was spent on mobile in 2016, mobile only handled 16% of transactions at the retail level. Users therefore are going from one platform to the other, shopping on their mobiles, but buying on their desktops. The reason for this multi-platform is because users still prefer the ease of browsing on a desktop over mobile, would rather see content on a larger screen and feel more secure entering their payment information on a desktop.

While mobile presence is crucial to reach users during their research, it is equally important to not lose sight of the desktop’s importance simply because this is where users convert the most.

Target audience

B2B marketing is still largely computer-based, notably due to the precise moment and place users can be reached at (work), and as previously established, because of the higher conversion rates on desktop versus mobile. For a B2B client of ours, conversion rates recorded are nearly 75% higher on desktop than on mobile[SA4]. Despite that, change is happening and mobile is quickly growing. Over the past 2 years, B2B research on mobile has seen an increase of 91%.

It appears that a multi-channel approach should be prioritized when developing a digital marketing strategy, to avoid underestimating the impact of different digital channels. Each step in the consumer’s decision- making process must be identified by combining the consumer’s intent and the most used device that meets their need. As previously mentioned, this analysis must take into account the content searched, the time of navigation, the type of product offered online and the target consumer. The challenge is not whether desktop is relevant in a global strategy, but rather how to use it to its full potential in a multi-platform ecosystem and have it help the consumer’s need.

To support this approach, we must deploy measurement tools to better understand the impact of all implicated digital devices. In parallel, it is important to measure offline data for brands with physical points-of-sale. This makes it possible to attribute the impact of digital initiatives on “offline” channels, especially if the business has no e-commerce.

To conclude, it is pertinent to base user behavior analysis on a total attribution model, demonstrating a unified view, not only of the channels, but of the platforms used.

Martine Couture, Data & Analytics Specialist at iProspect, also contributed to this article.