Commentary

The Day The Desktop Died

Today -- Tuesday, April 21, 2015 -- will be remembered as one of the most significant days in the history of the Internet, as the world’s largest online advertising and media company, Google, moved to prioritize mobile-optimized Web sites in its almighty search algorithm.

With this move, Google is essentially forcing the market to become “mobile-first.” Doing so is absolutely critical: according to our most recent “Devices & Demographics" research, consumers are already mobile-first: more than 60% of ads served across our entire online advertising network in Q4 2014 were on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). And with higher rates of mobile usage correlated with younger demographics (e.g., 70.5% of ads served to the 18- to-24-year-old demo were on mobile, 68.2% to the 25-44 demo), mobile as a percentage of all online interactions will only continue to grow.  

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This move is also aimed at moving Google’s Android users to become more m-commerce-friendly. According to our Mobile Shopping Survey,” conducted in January 2015, iOS users were nearly twice as likely to have made multiple purchases through their smartphones last year than Android users — approximately one in five iOS users reported making 7 or more purchases through their phones, compared to one in ten Android users. The research also showed that Android owners outnumber iOS users by more than 2:1, so there is a great deal of urgency around getting this segment of the population to shop more through their mobile devices.

How important are optimized mobile experiences in terms of promoting mobile shopping? Among Android users, 15.8% told us that “one-click purchasing” will be the most important feature to get them shopping more; 17.6% said “faster loading pages,” and 9.7% said “easier navigation.”

Coupled with last week's news that Google will be rolling out a custom audiences offering designed to make it more relevant in the mobile advertising space, we are witnessing a truly massive tectonic shift take place in the online advertising landscape, the likes of which we haven't seen since Google itself came into being. It's time for marketers to take notice.

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