Desktop vs. mobile for DTC marketers

desktopvsmobilePOST SUMMARY: People use mobile devices to consume online media, but still use desktops to a large extent for things like eCommerce.  After a few years of strong growth for iOS and Android tablets and a corresponding decrease in PC sales, the inverse is suddenly true: PC sales are up and tablet sales are “crashing.”  According to Talking New Media mobile device usage has now surpassed consumer consumption on a desktop, 60 percent to 40 percent, respectively. This compared to March 2013 when desktops were used 53 percent of the time vs. mobile’s 47 percent

The most important announcement of Apple’s event last week wasn’t any iOS software it’s the realization that consumers want bigger screens when it comes to their smartphones.  If you have tried to surf the Internet on a standard iPhone than you know why a bigger iPhone is essential.  But is there is too much emphasis on “mobile” vs. desktops?


According to Custora 79% of all eCommerce orders are with a desktop vs. mobile devices.  In addition, businesses and consumers alike are again purchasing PCs, and Mac sales are on the rise year-over-year. Businesses, in particular, are forced to upgrade older PCs now that Windows XP is no longer supported. When purchasing a new PC, the main driver to choose a PC versus a tablet is fairly obvious: If you are creating any type of content regularly, you need a keyboard, a larger screen, and (for most businesses) Microsoft Office.

desktop vs mobile


We need to better understand why and where

Bigger screens, and huge preorders, for new bigger iPhones is good news for marketers but it also comes with a warning. A recent Nielsen study that explored why people choose not to click on a mobile ad, users cited apathy as the number one reason.  Everyone sees mobile ads on their smartphones and tablets, but how many people actually click on them? Less than half, according to recent research by Nielsen for xAd and Telmetrics. The study found that only 43 percent of smartphone users clicked on a mobile advertisement in the month leading up to the polling, while only 37 percent of those with tablets said the same.

Why users don't click on mobile ads
Why users don’t click on mobile ads

When it comes to mobile patient needs, DTC marketers need to understand the following:

(1) Where are they accessing our product sites?  Is it, for example, at the point of care or at the pharmacy?

(2) Why are they accessing product information on their mobile device?  Did they just receive an Rx?  Did they just see a DTC spot?

(3) What type of mobile device they are using to access our site?  There is a huge difference in user experience between a tablet and smartphone.


(4) Can online ads for prescription drugs provide the ROI marketers need compared to other devices?

If DTC ads are designed to get people to product websites marketers need to better understand what they can do to ensure a great online branded experience.  Bigger phone screens are just the start.  The merger between mobile operating systems and desktop systems will continue to provide a seamless user experience and DTC marketers need to be prepared for the future for once instead of scrambling to catch up.

Marketers should push smartphone and tablet manufacturers to allow metrics to track the type of device when visiting websites, tablet vs. smartphone. Once we have this information we can better ensure that our online brand experience is a good one and provides the information that drives Rx behavior.