mobile native beats desktop

4 Reasons Why Mobile Native Beats Desktop Native Advertising

Native advertising is proving itself to be one of the most effective, if not the best, way of engaging with consumers in an advertising context. There are a number of reasons why mobile native beats desktop native advertising;

Mobile Vs. Desktop

The engaging and targeted framework exists within ensures that native, as a whole, is primed to succeed for marketers and users alike. But not every form of native advertising is born equally.

A report in October 2014 by Polar showed that native adverts performed better on mobile than on desktop in the UK and US.

While desktop struggled to achieve a CTR of 0.15% for native adverts, smartphones achieved an admirable 0.28% CTR with tablets just behind at 0.27%. And looking at session length with sponsored content, smartphone users spent an average of 3 minutes and 54 seconds viewing native content versus just 2 minutes for desktop.

Why then is mobile native advertising performing so much better than desktop adverts? Here are four reasons we think may explain why it is happening:

1) Mobile is Getting a Serious Audience Advantage

At a basic level, an increase in mobile’s audience size gives the platform an advantage over desktop.

According to a report from SmartInsights, mobile’s audience size is projected to be nearly 200 million users larger than the desktop audience by the end of 2015. Also, time spent on mobile devices has long ago exceeded the desktop/laptop figures. In the same report, SmartInsights pulls data from KPCB that shows the average user has been spending as much time or more time per day on mobiles over PC since 2014.

Therefore, native adverts on mobile simply have more users spending more time looking at them in comparison to their PC counterparts.

2) Mobile Devices are Better Suited for the Native Concept

Although it is true that mobile does have an audience advantage, to suggest that would be the main or only reason for native advertising’s success on the platform would be misleading. As AppLift has pointed out, the era where volume alone dictated the definition of success has long gone. What helps mobile to stand out from desktop is the conceptual difference between the way mobile devices are used compared to the usage of PCs, which allows native advertising to thrive on the former.

Consider for a moment how you use your PC. I am using my PC to write this piece, running my word processor alongside a number of windows that are open for researching articles. While I also dabble in using tools like Tweetdeck to manage the social media account, the desktop has predominantly become a platform reserved for productivity and a small number of games. In short, the desktop space has become one designed for focus.

Mobile, on the other hand, pervades your everyday life on a regular basis. In The Mobile Commerce Revolution, authors Tim Hayden and Tom Webster describe the fact that mobile users have “intimate expectations” of their devices:

“The device [the smartphone] goes to the bathroom with most users…and we already highlighted studies that show that some smartphone users will answer a call, text or social media notification during sex”

The mobile device is, therefore, used on a much more personal and private basis. As a result, consumers are in a better context to be reached for advertising. Rather than disrupting them at work or in a space in which they are concentrating, you are meeting them on their personal terms and space – a context that offers real rewards to those who create adverts most suited to those users.

3) Mobile Native Advertising Formats are so Successful, They Are Driving Reform in Older Industries

In general, desktop advertising underperforms compared to mobile advertising. A report on e-marketer in April 2015 highlighted this point perfectly, with three of the principal advertising formats used on both mobile and desktop clearly doing better on the small screen. And with ad blocking on the up and costing publishers up to $22bn a year, it’s little surprise that mobile is increasingly winning the hearts and minds of marketers. This applies equally to the field of native advertising as well.

The intimate personal experience of mobile, combined to the rise of increasingly well designed native adverts that suit the ever increasing screen quality of mobile devices, isn’t just improving CTR for advertisers though; mobile native is changing other businesses in its wake.

The media industry is being challenged by some to learn the success secrets of mobile gaming native ads; Facebook has rebranded itself a mobile-first company following the success of their native units; the ROI focus of mobile native advertising is indirectly forcing content marketing native providers like Buzzfeed to measure their impact more accurately.

The strength of mobile native advertising isn’t just seen in its performance then; it’s seen in its increasing impact on industries that lie beyond the narrow field of advertising provider.

4) Mobile Native Advertising Benefits from Hugely Personalised Targeting

Finally, mobile native advertising beats desktop because the personalization of the experience is combined with an increasingly effective underlying tracking ecosystem.

Although desktop has had a tracking head start over mobile, the advantages it once had have been eroded. Despite having marketing funnels, conversion optimization tools and a unified tracking system in the form of the cookie for a number of years, desktop has seen mobile catch up as a result of the industry’s massive growth and the decision by bodies such as the EU to make users aware of cookies and reduce their effectiveness.

Mobile, on the other hand, has gone from strength to strength. While there have been problems with introducing one central tracking ID, the sheer amount of data generated by millions of users has encouraged the rise of elegant dashboards and tools that help developers to track their users and determine who matters most to an app’s success.

As a Result…

Advertisers, particularly those who run native tools, have been forced to create better solutions for finding the right users for marketers. Facebook’s targeting dashboard, which allows you to identify users based on a massive cross-section of interests, is the most elegant solution to do so, but it points to a broader trend of helping marketers find the right users for their products.

That works perfectly for mobile native advertisers. Because marketers can identify the perfect cross-section of users for their app so easily, it allows the strengths of tailored native advertising to really flourish. Rather than publishing onto a major desktop site and hoping for virality, mobile native advertising benefits enormously from the targeted effect.

As Josh Lyman is told by Leo McGarry in the final season of The West Wing “a good strategy closes doors”. And for mobile native advertisers, the quality of targeting on the platform helps them to work out which doors to close and which ones to open more effectively than desktop counterparts.

Check out our other blog posts or send an email to if you have any questions.

Leave a Comment

Sign in to post your comment or sign-up if you don't have any account.

Other posts you may like