Zeropark Blog Desktop vs Mobile

Desktop vs. Mobile Traffic — What Works Best in 2022? [COVID-19 update]

1081 754 Kinga Gawron

Mobile advertising took over a while ago… that is until COVID-19 caused a global lockdown and the whole Earth went quieter than usual. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then, that desktop traffic is up and running like never before. Be it a home office or home entertainment mode, desktop devices are definitely back and so should be your desktop advertising ad campaigns. 

But if there’s anything the shifting sands of affiliate marketing have taught us already, it’s to never take things for granted. Read on to see what performs best for both mobile and desktop devices and plan your campaigns accordingly.

Pre-Coronavirus Trends for Mobile vs. Desktop devices

The end of 2019 made one thing very clear — mobile is king. Whether it’s Statista, eMarketer or any other data source, they all show that mobile traffic was meant to become a key focus area for programmatic advertising. 

If we take a look at the device split and the share of time spent on selected digital categories, data provided by Statista make it quite clear. The whopping 92% of that time is spent using mobile devices vs. only 8% of the time spent using desktop devices. 

And given the IAB Advertising Revenue Report, mobile traffic has not only won the user-engagement rates but significantly contributed to advertising profits, too. 

Naturally, it doesn’t mean that desktop traffic went completely dead in 2019 and wasn’t responsible for generating profit. The 2019 desktop advertising revenue varies depending on ad formats, verticals and targeted audiences, but it’s still there. Though its growth curve couldn’t be compared to that of mobile traffic. 

Mobile vs Desktop HY Report by IAB 2019

Mobile Advertising During COVID-19 Times 

While the end of 2019 made it quite clear what to expect in the near future, the beginning of 2020 came down crashing it all. The Q1 is usually expected to bring lower numbers as opposed to the end-of-year results, but nobody has quite expected the global pandemic.

The coronavirus outbreak made all sorts of businesses slow down and re-evaluate their 2020 strategies and are they still being cautious in 2022. So did the digital marketing sector, and here are the last couple of months’ findings. 

Mobile usage grows. Mobile revenue drops.

According to eMarketer:

Mobile Advertising Declines Due to COVID-19, despite increased time spent

This unexpected outcome has been caused by the sole purpose of why users engage with mobile devices. Although social distancing and #stayhome movements encourage people to shift their focus into the online reality, the type of content they engage with isn’t the one responsible for generating profits. 

We’ve already touched upon the subject in our FAQ on the effects of coronavirus on affiliate marketing, explaining that spikes in traffic don’t always mean spikes in profits. Similar calls have been made all over the globe, whether it’s an Asian, European or American market we’re taking into consideration. The available insights seem to point out that due to the COVID-19 outbreak people tend to use mobile devices mainly for communication purposes, leaving little room for the advertising content… or is it the content that needs to change?

What works best for mobile advertising during the pandemic?

Though it seems there’s nothing positive about the current situation, we’re lucky to find a silver lining. One category, in particular, has shown great potential for mobile devices and it’s the mobile gaming vertical. 

The survey by InMobi ran across the US and gathered 2500 answers on mobile trends during the COVID-19 outbreak, with 56% of respondents stating they’ve increased time spent on playing mobile games. As eMarketer rightly points out:

Mobile gaming heavily relies on advertising from other games. […] This might be one of the few publishing categories that have benefited from the lockdown rules hurting most of the industry.

Lockdown Mobile Trends — mobile gaming, groceries & remote work 

Apart from mobile gaming, it’s the grocery delivery industry and remote work that’s scaling it up with mobile traffic. Surely, promoting offers related to these angles holds great potential for the upcoming weeks. A quick peek at Google trends tells it all (Note: remember to use language targeting for checking various locations).

Here’s a summary of great mobile advertising opportunities for affiliate marketers during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Mobile gaming
  • Online dating 
  • Streaming
  • Delivery services
  • Meal prep services
  • Online grocery shopping
  • Communication tools
  • Home sports 
  • Remote Work
  • Telemedicine sector

What we’d suggest doing with the list is go through your offer networks, like ClickDealer, Mobidea, Offervault, Monetise or Mobipium and try to get matching offers or try direct affiliate programs for the listed angles.

Desktop Advertising During COVID-19

Despite mobile advertising being on the rise for some time already, desktop advertising has never ceased to play an important role in affiliate marketing. Even during mobile’s peak moments, it was desktop that served as the endgame for most of the e-commerce conversions. 

Desktop advertising cannot be ignored, it cannot be neglected, and it’s most definitely shouldn’t be considered dead. Especially, given the current circumstances.

The global lockdown caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus can be considered as one of the triggers for this sudden rise in desktop traffic. Billions of people all around the world had to change their daily habits. Daily commutes to work changed to daily commutes to your fridge, a quick scroll through your phone while rushing to the gym changed for hours researching that body-building program while sitting with your laptop. 

People simply have more time to spare, which means we tend to shift towards desktop devices as more convenient and comfortable tools for completing our daily online tasks. Naturally, none of these activities would have been completed using one’s laptop, had we been rushing through the day as we used to. 

That’s why, if you haven’t done that already, including desktop targeting in your affiliate marketing ad campaigns is a crucial step to boosting their performance and your profits during the Coronavirus quarantine.

Desktop verticals that work best during the lockdown

Since we already mentioned the lockdown trends for mobile devices, now it’s time to do the same for desktop traffic. Naturally, many of those verticals are going to be repeated as they’re the general hype at the moment regardless of the tool users use to search for information.

Yet, when it comes to affiliate advertising, there’s a much bigger chance of making profits if you propel your campaigns with the right kind of traffic. 

Here’s a summary of great desktop advertising opportunities for affiliate marketers during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • VOD Streaming
  • Online dating 
  • Adult content
  • Gambling
  • Finance/Insurance
  • Delivery services
  • E-commerce
  • Work-From-Home tools
  • Health & Nutra
  • Home appliances

Zeropark Insights — Desktop vs. Mobile Traffic during COVID-19 times.

Looking at Zeropark data we’re able to juxtapose the general industry trends with our hands-on experience with the industry’s performance at the moment. What we can tell for sure is that desktop traffic is definitely on the rise, but mobile targeting is doing great, too. 

It can be also distinguished that some ad formats and verticals tend to perform way better on desktop devices rather than mobile devices, and the other way around. Having such insights allows for making the best choices for optimizing your campaigns. 

That’s why we’ve compiled the following summary of top Zeropark verticals per device and ad format. Almost all of them confirm the industry assumptions with a few positive exceptions that are definitely worth trying when running ad campaigns with Zeropark.



TOP 10 Verticals for POP and REDIRECT on MOBILE

The top ten verticals for pop and domain redirect traffic in Zeropark, whether for mobile or desktop traffic, feature a similar set of verticals. This can be tied to the more stable environment of those two ad formats, both usually linked to desktop devices rather than mobile. In this case, we can assume that users look for similar sorts of content, thus engaging with a comparable set of verticals.



TOP 10 Verticals for POP and REDIRECT on DESKTOP

The four graphs may or may not come as a surprise but should definitely be helpful when deciding which vertical is worth running right now, where and how. Whereas the differences aren’t that striking with pop and domain redirect traffic, numbers for push and in-page push are quite the opposite. 



TOP 10 Verticals on PUSH and IN-PAGE PUSH on MOBILE

The striking success of the gambling angle for mobile traffic may be linked to the change in user behavior when interacting with mobile devices. The lockdown and boredom make many people turn to gambling as an entertainment source or perhaps a quick-income scheme. Whatever the reason, with the abundance of available offers, it’s a go-to mobile ad campaign. 



TOP 10 Verticals on PUSH and IN-PAGE PUSH on DESKTOP

What’s interesting is the push and in-page push traffic distribution per device type. Especially, given that what’s a huge spike for mobile push or in-page push, doesn’t even make it to top 10 for desktop traffic. The antivirus vertical, which means device protection software, not the actual virus protection, gets an enormous share of desktop traffic. Whether triggered by the keyword similarity or a sudden need for protecting our devices when handling work-related content at home, it’s definitely worth trying. 

Desktop vs. Mobile — traffic comparison 

Below you’ll find a graphic representation of desktop vs. mobile traffic per ad format, taking into consideration both available volumes of traffic and its performance. 

Whether you’re an old sport when it comes to running desktop traffic campaigns, or you’re a die-hard fan of mobile targeting, it’s worth taking a moment to consider all the pros and cons. Have a look and decide for yourself!

Pop & Domain Desktop vs. Mobile Comparison

As could be expected for pop and domain redirect ads, desktop traffic is the winner. It’s stable, grows day by and, and most importantly — it converts. If you’re not in the mood for any more surprises this season can possibly bring us, then that’s your go-to targeting.

Push & In-Page Push Desktop vs Mobile Comparison

Looking at push and in-page push ads, mobile wins. Again, although the top verticals may be something new to mobile advertising, the fact that push mobile ads won shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. 

Key Takeaways — Top Verticals, Ad Formats, and Device Split

There is no golden rule for estimating which kind of traffic is ultimately better — desktop or mobile. Depending on the kind of campaign you’re running, the vertical and offer you chose to promote, various targeting options should be employed. Current circumstances are the perfect example of that. What used to work great with mobile traffic might not be the best choice at the moment, while what appeared mediocre for desktop traffic might be hitting the jackpot. 

That’s why leveraging both desktop and mobile traffic for your ad campaigns might be the simplest yet the best piece of advice you can get. As always, start broad, analyze, whitelist, test, optimize and scale up. If there is any, that’s precisely the golden rule for making any ad campaign work. Whatever the circumstances, whatever the offer, whatever the type of traffic.

The truth is, it’s not about the traffic, it’s about adjusting your advertising strategies to what’s currently trending. Consider the seasonal trends, latest fashion, economy shifts… or the world pandemic. It’s about listening to your audience and adjusting your campaigns accordingly.