Phone screen showing "ERROR"

Digital marketing has always been aimed at reaching out to the broadest audience possible. In the past, that was done through desktops because of their availability. Over the years, however, a noticeable shift is taking place. Instead of desktops, companies are beginning to aim their campaigns at mobile users. Let’s breakdown, digital marketing: desktop-vs-mobile.

Tech-Based Lifeforms 

Like most people nowadays, I rely on technology to do the majority of my daily tasks.

Whether it’s listening to music, talking to friends (yes, I do have friends) or working, I can safely say that my phone and laptop have become vital tools for accomplishing day-to-day things.

And, like most people, I didn’t really notice a major change. Sure, I saw the big ads for the newest iPhone, but it never really occurred to me just how much technology integrated into the structure of modern society. We haven’t noticed this change for the same reason we don’t notice many changes: convenience.

The Key Is Convenience

Technology provides a level of convenience we’ve never experienced before, which is why so many people have welcomed it. To the point where that convenience has become (in a sense) compulsory. It’s near impossible to send or receive information without using a laptop or phone of some kind.

Google handles roughly 3.8 billion searches a minute, so it’s safe to say that we’re accessing most of our information via the use of tech. The two main ways we interact with the online world are through desktops/laptops and mobile phones, the latter of which is rising to take most of the market.

Fun Numbers

 To further emphasise what I mean by this, I found some fun statistics to look at:

– In 2011, mobile held roughly 6% of the global digital traffic.

– As of 2021, mobile holds roughly 50% of the global digital traffic.

That’s a massive increase in a relatively short time.

“But writer man!” I hear you cry, “Why are these numbers important?”

And I shall tell you.

They’re important because they show us that mobile is the best way to reach most people.

Marketers have noticed this, which has given us the trend of mobile-first optimised content – digital content designed to perform best when viewed on mobile devices.

The issue with this is that it creates a less optimised experience for desktop users.

Let’s look at an example: Video advertising.

Video advertising is much more effective on phones because it takes up the whole screen, removing any distractions. With desktops, this isn’t as effective. Adblocks and larger screens either deny those ads completely or gives us a way to avoid interacting with the screen.


It’s vital that we don’t discount the importance of desktops. While people enjoy browsing on their phones, the numbers show that most online purchases are made on desktops.

Mobile vs Desktop: Who wins?

The truth is that there isn’t a clear winner. In fact, thanks to “multi-screening”, people balance the scales between desktop and mobile, which means that it’s essential to look at marketing across all platforms (a term conveniently known as cross-platform marketing).

The Takeaway 

Platforms differ in the same way that languages do. Just like you need to adjust your phrasing and structure from language to language, the same is true from platform to platform.

There’s no magical spell to succeed in your marketing other than actively paying attention to your consumer behaviour and working hard to ensure they get the best experience possible on any device. Whether they’re on a desktop, phone, or standing on top of a soap-box, every viewer is a valuable one, and there’s no way to determine which platform will provide the most success, generate the most traffic, or offer you the most leads. To see success, it’s crucial to understand that more people doesn’t necessarily translate into more views.

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