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Facebook Mobile vs. Desktop

Written by: Juliana Casale, Director of Marketing

Marketers make a lot of choices on a daily basis, and the information they act on changes frequently. In an effort to keep the advertising industry straight, we’re launching a new series of blog posts, affectionately titled “Versus.” Here we will discuss two sides of Facebook advertising, and how each can help your brand.

More than half of Facebook users visit the social network every day. Since we’re talking about 1 billion users, that’s a huge number. When you consider that 75% of smartphones today have Facebook installed, and that their users can be targeted for likes, location — even off-Facebook activity — the potential for ad reach is mindblowing. Nearly 70% of transactions are now influenced by online and mobile research.

So, what’s the difference between marketing for a desktop Facebook audience vs. Facebook mobile? Here’s the breakdown:


In the early days of the Internet when Prodigy roamed the Earth, PCs reigned supreme. Though smartphone and tablet use is through the roof these days, don’t be too quick to dismiss desktop. Why?

  • According to the Ecommerce Quarterly (EQ) roundup for Q4 of 2013, a whopping 73.21% of eCommerce website traffic still came from a traditional “stationary media” device — a strong indication that ads are still reaching a large amount of eyeballs.
  • Google conducted a multi-screen study indicating that television (43 minutes) is the only screen that edges out PCs/laptops (39 minutes) for most time spent on average per interaction. Smartphones were in last place at 17 minutes.
  • A Pew Internet Report indicates that older demographics are more comfortable using fixed PCs. As a side note, Facebook has added 12.4 million new users in the 55+ age range (up 80.4%) since January 2011.
  • In Q4 of 2013, Nanigans’ Revenue Per Click (RPC) for the Facebook Desktop News Feed was $1.29 (vs. $.44 for mobile).


As of January, 55% of American adults had smartphones, while 42% owned tablets, according to the Pew Research Center. Mobile presents an unparalleled opportunity to reach an ever-widening audience.

  • Because Facebook mobile has no right hand side (RHS) rail, all ads appear in the News Feed. In-stream ads ensure that consumer attention is solely focused on one scrolling area.
  • According to Adweek, rewards-based mobile advertising involving gift card, coupon and event ticket incentives performed best in 2013.
  • Facebook mobile ads are especially geared toward driving app install and engagement activity.
  • Because mobile devices have smaller screens than PCs, consumers traditionally don’t spend as much time browsing websites. This means content linked to ads must be optimized for mobile visitors (short and sweet, easy to navigate).
  • Fun fact: One in three mobile searches have local intent (versus one in five on desktop). Being able to target customers based on proximity and connectivity is a huge benefit of Facebook mobile advertising.


Although mobile’s star is on the rise, a sizeable amount of the population still uses PCs at home due to ease of use, concerns about privacy and time required to complete an activity. A study commissioned by Facebook showed that a majority of online adults use more than one device a day in the US, which means marketers must take the mobile/desktop continuum into account when creating Facebook ad campaigns, or risk alienating a large audience of versatile media consumers. And the ROI for targeting these adults is considerable. As Consumer Technology VC James Slavet says, “Companies such as One Kings Lane have found that cross-device customers are several times more valuable than desktop-only customers.”

Have you found more success with desktop or mobile advertising on Facebook? We’d love to hear your take.

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