Desktop vs Mobile Advertising on Facebook Square Off

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Mobile advertising is growing at an unprecedented rate as people are abandoning the desktop version of Facebook in favor of accessing the network on smartphones.

Facebook’s recent Q2 2015 earnings announcement noted that mobile ads currently account for 75% of the organization’s revenue. Mobile-forward thinking is paramount. In this guide, we discuss the tactics and details for improving desktop vs. mobile advertising through a useful case study.

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Since going public three years ago, Facebook has developed a robust mobile advertising platform. Mobile ads have played a key role in Facebook’s Q2 2015 results beating projections for both earnings and revenue, with mobile advertising accounting for 76% of Facebook’s advertising revenue and 72% of total revenue.

Mobile ads have grown explosively for Facebook, contributing to more than 90% of Facebook’s revenue growth in each of the ten previous quarters, while desktop ads and payments have stayed flat.

Facebook’s mobile advertising services have been widely successful considering the fact that the platform sees 844 million mobile users on average daily. The development and speed with which mobile ads have become the largest source of revenue for the company is astounding. This is precisely why mobile-forward thinking is critical in today’s rapidly changing environment on social media. Mobile commerce is thriving as consumers are increasingly on their smartphones.

What are the advantages and disadvantages for businesses that wish to excel with social ads in the game of desktop vs. mobile?

Desktop and Mobile Strengths

Desktop Advertising

  • Ideal if you need the user’s undivided attention
  • Better for longer or rich content (videos, HTML5, Flash etc.)
  • In B2B ideal for lead-generation that requires filling out the forms on the landing page

Mobile Advertising

  • Great for media companies that engage their audience within a quick glance
  • Ideal for links with microsites and landing pages
  • Helpful for a clear Call-To-Action (CTA) that can grab attention on any screen size

Driving Website Traffic and Conversions


Use Custom Audiences and target the people that have already visited your website, e-mail subscribers, and your contacts through their customer journey:

  • Target leads, prospects, and clients with relevant messaging
  • People have a longer attention span than on mobiles, so it’s important to test a lot of images
  • Use Lookalike audiences to target the message to similar recipients
  • Target your Fans - they are cheaper and have a nearly 3x better Click Through Rate (CTR)


One common mistake brands make is neglecting to optimize campaign images for mobile displays, leading to cut-off and unwieldy graphics. Make sure your campaign visuals are mobile-friendly.

It’s also essential to have a responsive website and landing page if you go mobile. Forms that need to be filled should be easily clickable on any screen size or ideally prefilled by offering users a social log-in via Facebook, Twitter or other profiles.

Raising Brand Awareness


  • Identify the best-performing organic posts (by high reach and engagement) in real-time, and promote them quickly to maximize your reach
  • Promote posts that are strategically important such as those featuring your latest campaign or product
  • If video content is being used, have a clear CTA at the end to direct users to the desired place


  • Publish videos natively (they have better reach and engagement than videos leading outside the platform e.g. posting a YouTube video to Facebook)
  • Videos render better on mobile devices than on desktops
  • Ensure that the video does not require a lot of data
  • Use location-based targeting whenever relevant

Desktop vs Mobile

Since mobile is very often the first source of contact with Facebook for a lot of users during the day, mobile ads can help to support a campaign designed for desktop ads

  • Raise awareness with light messaging on mobile
  • Continue desktop ads for final conversion

According to an analysis of Facebook ad performance in the United States, of the people who showed interest in Facebook mobile Ads, more than 32% converted on desktop within 28 days.

[Download PDF to see Graph]

Post and Promote Videos Natively

Native videos get more reach than any other type of post - that’s why it pays off to promote them.

While they are relatively more promoted than photos – 27% of all videos are promoted, compared to 17% of photos – there are so many more photos than videos that the new format is still far more effective at reaching audiences.

  • Because Facebook videos auto-play silently, it’s essential to make them visually appealing right from the start
  • Try including dialog right at the beginning of a video. If people want to hear what’s being said, they’ll click for sound – and video churn rates show that viewers who make it past the first 5% of a video will likely stay engaged to watch until the end
  • Make your native videos as shareable as possible - the objective is to make your content worth sharing (when someone shares your post it reflects the highest form of brand endorsement) thus helping to increase brand awareness

[Download PDF to see Graph]

Driving Online Sales


  • Remarket the visitors of the website or visitors that did not complete a purchase
  • Desktop is more suitable, as it ensures users are more likely to catch the ad in their feeds since it occupies more space
  • Target your fanbase, provide special deals and not only discounts
  • Pay attention to the frequency of retargeting to minimize the times a person is likely to see the same ad


  • Creating a mobile app can be beneficial; get customer feedback to see whether they’d prefer the app
  • Use mobile advertising IDs - Android, Apple, Facebook App
  • Connect it with your your offline activities by targeting the users that are nearby your shop
  • Responsive design is essential

Stimulate Local In-Store Sales


  • Target your fans, website audience and newsletter audience, cross-testing effectiveness across multiple ad sets.


  • Target ads to people close to your location and offer them something extra for additional value
  • Use the Offer ad format to provide one-time-one-time-only deals that will be shown to those near your stores

Improve performance with carousel ads Carousel link ads drive 30-50 % lower cost-per-conversion and 20-30 % lower cost-per-click than single-image link ads.

Get New Installs for Your App


  • Is your app available on Facebook? Use desktop ads to drive valuable traffic
  • Make the ad relevant to the interests of those being targeted e.g. a fitness app for fitness buffs
  • Use bright and catchy images to grab attention
  • Videos are great - learn how to succeed here


  • Use mobile targeting and leverage Audience Network targeting, which posts your ad in other 3rd party apps, to reach the broadest audience beyond Facebook. Ads in the Audience Network use the same imagery you use for your Facebook Ads, so there’s no need for new creative.
  • Segment your audience and test many different ads
  • Cross-test the video auto-play and click-to-play formats
  • Use carousel format

Incentivize users to install the app by promoting a special offer e.g. if 1 order is made through the app, the user will receive a 50% discount

Gain More Likes for Your Pages


  • People have a longer attention span than on mobiles, so it’s important to test a lot of images


  • Use extremely clear images - faces work great!
  • Keep texts short and catchy
  • Performs well for younger age groups

Capture Newsletter Subscribers


  • Use a newsletter tab for your page (don’t worry - this can be done almost pain-free with tools like TabFoundry)
  • Target Lookalike audiences of your Fans and your newsletter subscribers
  • Do not send users away from Facebook to complete the newsletter subscription by redirecting them to another website - use a Facebook native-app on your Page to capture emails for subscriptions
  • Be sure to target your Fans


  • Difficult to achieve, and so requires the landing page to be responsive and ideally prefilled
  • Good new is, that Facebook is now testing new lead gen forms that should simplify the process for mobile

[Download PDF to see Image]

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