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The growth of mobile marketing isn’t a new trend. As consumer behaviour changes, we’re seeing proportionally more and more ad spend shifting from desktop to mobile devices. According to our research, 60% of ad clicks over the past 12 months have come from a mobile device, which is an 11-percentage point increase on last year.

However, whilst consumers may be using their smartphones more to search, watch content, and connect with friends, the value for advertisers that is derived from mobile cannot be said to be keeping up. In fact, over the same period, our research found visitors from desktops to have converted 60% more than mobile users.

Clearly this raises some important questions for advertisers and mobile app developers alike. Why do users not feel as comfortable converting on mobile as they do on desktop? Are mobile ad clicks sending the right sort of traffic? Is my mobile ad spend driving real value for my bottom line?

For this research we analysed 10 million clicks across 100 ad accounts over a 12-month period, comparing click and conversion trends between mobile and desktop.

The Results

In the 12-month period ending August 2019, mobile ad clicks increased by 11 percentage points: from 49% to 60%. At the same time, mobile ad impressions climbed by 6 percentage points, from 45% to 56%.

However, whilst mobile conversions have increased, the total number of conversions derived from a mobile ad click still lag behind the traffic: only 49% of conversions originated from clicks via mobile device, up from 39% in 2018.

Overall, desktop visitors convert 60% more than mobile visitors, and conversions from a desktop device are worth 93% more than mobile conversions, on average. (For B2C companies, conversion value was calculated as the average order value, and for B2B it was calculated as the lead value and propensity to buy.)

“Desktop converts 60% more than mobile, and desktop conversions are worth 93% more than mobile conversions.”

The Problem with Mobile Conversions 

App developers monetise their apps by allowing companies to advertise. The issue with this is that app developers are prone to focusing more on the quantity of clicks, at the expense of the user experience. 

Ineffective ad placements will often lead to worthless clicks, such as when apps have ads so close to an action button, or an interactive part of the app, that users end up clicking accidentally.   

There is also a trust issue at play here, which can affect conversions rates. The more spammy and irritating ads are on an app, the less the propensity someone has to trust the companies advertising.

Tips for advertisers 

Advertisers need to be wary of tracking mobile clicks alone as a primary KPI. They need to ensure mobile clicks are generating value and that they have the right attribution data in place to be able to be able to record such value. 

Here are a few tips to takeaway: 

  • To avoid conversion drop offs, ensure your website or the landing page connected to the mobile ad is mobile user friendly and blends well with mobile transactions.
  • If it’s not possible to track cross-device conversions, offer easy sharing and bookmarking options to ensure conversions later. You should then add this list of site visitors to a remarketing campaign, reminding them to convert.  
  • Keep track of low-quality apps – those that bring lots of traffic but no conversions – and block these apps from your campaign.  
  • Try different variations of ad formats and try to avoid formats that could lead to accidental clicks i.e. larger banners near a small action button.