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Mobile Marketing vs Desktop Marketing: Comparing and Using Both Strategies

When it comes to marketing strategies, businesses have several options to consider. In today’s world of digitally-driven business, two primary marketing strategies are desktop and mobile marketing. While mobile usage has steadily increased over the years, desktop usage continues to hold significance. Therefore, understanding the key differences between these two platforms is essential for creating effective marketing strategies.

In this article we will explore the differences between desktop and mobile marketing, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each. By understanding these aspects, businesses can make informed decisions in tailoring their marketing strategies and reach their target audiences more effectively.

Mobile Marketing: Definition and Overview

Mobile marketing focuses on engaging with and reaching consumers directly on their mobile devices. The different types of mobile marketing strategies account for the unique aspects of mobile devices, such as screen size and users who are on the go. These tactics include mobile apps, SMS messages, push notifications, and mobile-optimized websites, enabling businesses to deliver personalized messages to their target audience wherever they are.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Mobile Marketing

There are several key advantages of mobile marketing. Smartphone usage has continued to soar, and more and more people rely on their phones to access the internet. Mobile marketing provides businesses the opportunity to connect with this large global audience. Since people can carry these devices with them and use the internet almost everywhere they go, companies can also stay connected to their target audience anytime and anywhere.

Another benefit is the data that can be collected from mobile device usage enables more personalized messaging. Businesses can utilize users’ location, interests, and browsing habits to craft more relevant and intentional advertising. This targeted messaging increases conversion rates. As well, with location-based technology, businesses can deliver notifications and ads near stores or relevant locations.

Some of the disadvantages that come with mobile marketing include smaller screen sizes, ad-blocking technology, privacy concerns, and potential intrusiveness of ads. The smaller screens of mobile devices impact the information and visual elements that can be displayed. This means businesses have less room to grab the attention of users. Consumers who use mobile devices are also increasingly employing ad-blockers and not seeing marketing efforts at all. Also, another drawback is the privacy concerns around collecting user data.

Businesses should be transparent about their data usage to not cause any backlash. It’s also easy to overdo messaging, which can come off as intrusive to users since mobile devices are seen as more personal spaces.

Desktop Marketing: Definition and Overview

Desktop marketing focuses on delivering comprehensive and engaging experiences to users who primarily interact with content on larger screens. It recognizes the continued relevance and significance of desktop and laptop devices in various industries and for specific tasks.

It involves strategies such as websites with responsive designs that adjust to different screen sizes, display ads on platforms made for desktop use, email marketing campaigns, and software applications created for desktops.

Most Effective Mobile Marketing Strategies

  • App-Based Marketing– This involves mobile applications as a marketing channel. The vast majority of mobile time is spent within apps. Services like Google AdMob help create mobile ads that appear within third-party mobile applications.
  • In-Game Mobile Marketing– In-game marketing targets users who play games on their mobile devices. Advertisements can appear as banner pop-ups, full-page image ads, or video ads that appear between loading screens.
  • Location-Based Marketing– Location-based mobile advertising involves targeting mobile users within a specific geographic area. Businesses can send promotional messages to users in close proximity to a store or a specific area.
  • Mobile Search Ads– These are basic Google search ads built for mobile, often featuring extra add-on extensions like click-to-call or maps.
  • Mobile Image Ads– Image-based ads designed to appear on mobile devices, often displayed in websites or apps that monetize with advertising.
  • SMS Marketing– Despite the proliferation of messaging apps, SMS marketing remains a viable mobile marketing strategy. Marketers can send promotional texts to customers who opt-in for this service.
  • Social Media Marketing– Almost every social media platform offers options for mobile advertising, from Instagram Stories ads to sponsored Tweets and Facebook ads. With consumers spending a large portion of their mobile time on social media, this strategy offers a direct line to your audience.
  • QR Codes– QR codes are machine-readable barcodes that can store website URLs, text, or other information. Users can scan these codes with their mobile device’s camera to quickly access the associated information or website. This can provide a bridge between physical and digital marketing.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Desktop Marketing

Desktop marketing has its unique advantages. One of the main ones is the larger screen sizes. This allows businesses to design and deliver comprehensive content, captivating visuals, and immersive elements. Marketers don’t have to compromise for clarity and users receive a more engaging experience. As well, with more detailed content, desktop users are more likely to stick around and engage with content for longer periods. With longer browsing times, this also means desktop searches are often higher in conversion rates. Businesses can take advantage of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies to improve search engine rankings and organic traffic.

There are of course some disadvantages to consider as well. As we’ve discussed, mobile usage has been on the rise, and because of this desktop usage has declined. Users are starting to prefer mobile devices over desktops, limiting the reach of desktop marketing strategies.

In addition, desktop marketing caters to stationary users. This type of marketing does not have the added benefit of reaching consumers everywhere, only at stationary locations. And similarly to mobile devices, there is also the concern of ad-blocking technology. However, even more so on desktops, as users have become adept at completely ignoring messaging on common features such as banner ads and advertisements on websites.

Most Effective Methods of Desktop Marketing

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)– SEO involves improving a website’s visibility on search engine result pages. It includes optimizing website content and structure for relevant keywords, improving site speed and mobile friendliness, and acquiring quality backlinks. A high SEO ranking can drive organic traffic to your site, enhancing its credibility and authority.
  • Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)– PPC is an advertising model where marketers pay a fee each time their ad is clicked. One of the most popular forms is Google Ads, which displays your ad to users who search for relevant keywords
  • Email Marketing– This involves sending targeted messages to a group of people via email. This could be a newsletter, promotional messages, or personalized content. Email marketing helps nurture leads, keep your brand top-of-mind, and convert prospects into customers.
  • Content Marketing-This strategy involves creating and sharing valuable content to attract and engage a target audience. This can be blogs, white papers, webinars, videos, or infographics. Good content can establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry.
  • Social Media Marketing-Social media marketing uses platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to promote your products or services. This can include organic posts or paid ads. Social media provides a platform for you to connect with your audience, increase brand visibility, and generate leads and sales.
  • Retargeting-Also known as remarketing, this strategy involves showing ads to people who’ve visited your site or used your app, but didn’t make a purchase. Retargeting can remind users of their interest in your products and nudge them towards conversion.
  • Affiliate Marketing-This involves partnering with affiliates – individuals or companies that promote your products for a commission. By leveraging the affiliate’s audience, you can extend your reach and only pay for actual sales made.

Mobile Marketing vs Desktop: Comparing the Two

Now that we understand mobile marketing and desktop marketing better, we can look at how their differences compare to each other. The key aspects they differ in are screen size, internet usage habits, and connectivity and accessibility.

Screen Size

Mobile screens are significantly smaller than desktop screens. Desktop marketing has the benefit of being able to provide detailed content to users and use more interactive features and visuals. Mobile marketing needs to be more intentional with concise and clear messaging and multimedia elements to quickly captivate the user and not overwhelm them.

Internet Usage Habits

Users who primarily access the internet through their mobile phones are usually out and about. Therefore, they have smaller attention spans and prefer quicker interactions. They typically use the internet for browsing social media and accessing information quickly. On the other hand, desktop users engage with more in-depth research on items, making purchases, and completing specific tasks. They often access multiple pages on a site and have longer conversion times than mobile.

Again, mobile usage is on the rise compared to desktop devices. The percentage of people who are accessing the internet solely through their cell phones is climbing. However, desktops continue to hold weight in certain industries and for completing specific tasks that would be hard to do on a small mobile device.

Connectivity and Accessibility

Because users constantly have mobile devices near them and can bring them anywhere, businesses also have constant access to users. As well, they can leverage location-based technology to provide more tailored and timed messaging depending on where users are at. This is specifically useful for physical stores. In comparison, desktop marketing does not have access to users anytime and anywhere. This limits the users desktop marketing is engaging with. They have users at a fixed location, relying more on their browsing history and user behaviors. 


Understanding the distinct advantages and disadvantages of both mobile marketing and desktop marketing is important in developing effective marketing strategies. With this knowledge, marketers can better tailor their efforts in both and maximize the reach and engagement on both platforms.


Courtney Kovacs
Team Writer: Courtney Kovacs is a Texas based writer who enjoys writing about various topics such as entrepreneurship, travel, health and wellness, and faith.

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Team Writer: Courtney Kovacs is a Texas based writer who enjoys writing about various topics such as entrepreneurship, travel, health and wellness, and faith.

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