Bigger Devices Mean Bigger Impact for Marketers

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

mobile-tablet-marketingThe old adage, “Bigger is better” wasn’t universally accepted with mobile devices until recently. Since cell phones started out very big, the trend for the longest time was to make them smaller and smaller. Now that smartphones have arrived, and watching videos and playing games on phones are all the rage, phones have now started to become bigger again. Though some companies, like Samsung, were making larger model smartphones for years, now that Apple is doing it, people are starting to notice and to ask what this means for marketers. The simple answer is that bigger devices mean better advertising opportunities for marketers.

Larger mobile screens make it easier for people to use their devices for searching, shopping and entertainment. In the past, there has been a gap between the click through rate of mobile devices when compared to desktop ads. According to recent data from the RKG Digital Marketing Report, the revenue per click for smartphones was 66 percent lower than desktop in third quarter of 2014, primarily due to lower conversion rates, though this was an improvement over last year. Larger screens have the ability to change that by making phones easier to use.

A recent study from Forrester research shows just how much a difference greater familiarity and ease of use can have. Forrester reported that 53 percent of US adult mobile owners who do not make purchases via their devices do not do so because they are used to shopping with desktop computers.

The growing size of mobile devices is directly related to growing importance of online video services as a means of entertainment. As more consumers use mobile devices to watch TV shows and movies, it becomes more important for marketers to diversify their ad budgets to adapt to this changing reality. Any marketer who thinks they can reach a large percentage of young adults by relying solely on TV ads needs to think again.

According to a recent report from comScore, more than half of millennials watch TV shows from computers or mobile devices. Specifically, 49 percent of millennials watch TV shows on tablets, compared to 44 percent for desktop computers, and 31 percent for smartphones. For a more telling statistic, consider this: Americans aged 18-34 are 77 percent more likely than average to live in households that have never had pay TV. All the ads on A&E and MTV are useless to young adults who refuse to pay for cable or satellite.

Though not specifically related to screen size, the same thing has been happening with radio advertising. For generations, if marketers wanted to reach someone while they were travelling, the only options were billboards and radio ads. Streaming online radio takes the place of both. Marketers can reach consumers with audio ads that play between songs, banner ads that are clickable on the app, and in some cases video ads can also be served (so it does relate to screen size a little).

A recent study from Nielsen shows the value of advertising to music listeners. According to their report, Americans listen to an average of 25 hours of music per week. Much of that time is spent using online streaming. The study also found that 41 percent of US music listeners use online streaming services. So this is certainly a sizable audience.

The growing size of mobile devices makes them better tools for marketers trying to reach their audience. Bigger screens may even lead to more conversions and ad clicks. But even as marketers wait for that time to come, there is a still a great benefit to utilizing mobile devices to get a message to customers.

Because it’s easy to track the number of clicks a particular piece of online content gets, business owners and marketers tend to think that these primary clicks are the most important part of an ad. It’s important to remember that brand and product awareness are goals in themselves. Once people know about a brand or product, they are infinitely more likely to tell someone else about the product than if they hadn’t heard of it. Mobile marketing makes it easier to get a business or product name in the mouths of consumers.

The growing screen size of mobile devices fits the growing importance of these products for consumers and marketers. There may be a gap between mobile and desktop clicks and ad revenue, but that gap will close with time. For more information about the awesomeness of smartphones and tablets, read this article on Mobiles, Millennials and the Future of Business.


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