It’s hard to believe Apple introduced the iPad in April 2010, less than three years ago. In their 30-month run, tablets have grown exponentially, changing where and how we consume media and the overall digital marketing space forever.
But what does this really mean? I have discussed the importance of mobile and tablet marketing in my columns before, but it’s important to understand the differences in behavior on different devices to better market to these users successfully. We recently released a report that was meant to help identify these differences so marketers can optimize campaigns according to device type. The results are enlightening:
1. Your competitors are increasing their mobile and tablet marketing budgets in a big way: Spending on mobile search ads last quarter was up 168% compared to last year. Mobile also increased its share of budget, with 16% of total search spend in that quarter – a percentage that has been growing each quarter. The split between mobile phones and tablets was nearly even. If you want to keep your brand and your message in front of an increasingly mobile audience, you need to be competing for these exposures.
2. Tablet users interact in a much more engaged way: According to our research, tablet users spent 30% more time on a site on average and were 20% more engaged than desktop and smart phone users. This difference in time and engagement was even higher for retail sites (especially fashion). Marketing to tablet users should focus on driving users to your site and converting them with tablet-optimized experiences.
3. Smartphone and tablet users are very different: Search marketing to smartphone users is important due to the ubiquity of the devices and the prevalence of showrooming, but these users are not engaged in the same way. While representing a larger overall audience than tablet users, smartphone users were 4% less engaged than even PC users and had 11% fewer page views. This should not come as a surprise when looking at the slower speed and poorer browsing experience of smartphones compared to larger devices. Expect these numbers to shift as devices become faster and more usable. For now, focus on using mobile for strategies that make the best use of the device – click to call, local-targeted campaigns, maps to brick-and-mortar locations, etc.
4. Cookie-based tracking varies widely according to device type – this should be factored into your reading of success and how you interact with users. Tablet users again fulfill marketers’ dreams, with 93% of users being trackable. In comparison, desktop users have 82% trackability. It’s a different story for smartphone users, with only 40% trackable. Wisdom is knowing what you don’t know. If you cannot accurately track funnel positions for a user, you may not want to use standard call-to-action strategies.
The numbers are staring you in the face. It’s time to think about device-specific campaigns and strategies. You will need more resources in order to optimize campaigns for both tablets and smartphones in addition to your standard desktop campaigns. When users behave differently, you need to communicate with them differently. It’s not a question of “if,” but one of “when.”