The continued importance of desktop to marketers despite the rush to mobile-first

Desktop continues to be important to the marketing mix

Despite the natural adoption of the 'mobile-first' strategy by brands craving online audience and consumer engagement, the importance of desktop has not diminished and continues to be a necessary part of many digital strategies.

Earlier this year, Forrester reported that it expects two-thirds of the world's population - 5.5 billion people, to own a mobile device, with over half of the world's population expected to use smartphones by the end of this year, so the interest by brands in mobile in comparison to the less accessible use of desktop is clear. Meanwhile, according to the Q2 retail report put out by Adobe in September, the average retailer is set to see mobile traffic overtake desktop for the first time by the end of this year.

And commercial and revenue share continues to lead the way by a distance via desktop at around 70%, with smartphone at just over 20%, highlighting just how important desktop continues to be and will be for the foreseeable future.

The growth of smartphone traction has been a focus for marketers over the last decade, yet companies must continue to remember the customer experience, warns BookingSuite regional director, Marielle Van Gorp, who describes parent company Booking.com as 'a tech company that focuses on travel' and aims to look at customers as individuals with their own behaviours from country to country.

"It's definitely still important," she says of desktop while speaking at a panel in Singapore at this year's Millennial 20/20 event. "The majority of the people today are still on desktop. Of course, some countries here in Asia don't have desktop, but it's the largest space for customers, especially in Europe, which mean that it remains important especially because we do see customers switching devices during the day so everything we do we make sure is responsive for all devices."

In agreement is Prasanna Veeraswamy, chief product officer of KKDay, the experience eCommerce platform who described desktop as "huge" for the company and said that it was the space where a lot of planning still took place.

Verraswamy continues to highlight the move by users towards virtual reality, explaining how, through desktop, his company is able to offer visual experiences before the user purchases them.

"In many ways you can experience how your new luxury suite is going to look so that when you get there you are not going to be surprised'" he added.

And as for Uber, considered by most users as a mobile-first platform, it has created a desktop site following demand from users, explains Astha Kalbag, performance marketing manager, APAC for Uber.

"A lot of this depends on the category and how involved it is for the consumer when making the purchase decision. Travel, for example can see high-value purchases booked in desktop, but search is still mobile. If you look at UberEats for example, it started as app-first but people love to be involved in the food they order so now we have a desktop site. You evolve as you learn as well," she explained.

Astha also offers her view that when it comes to the continued growth in mobile owners, the ride-share sector has not yet met critical mass, and that Uber chooses to be 'humble' and still considers itself to be a start-up.

"We still look at how you fail fast and learn fast and continue to innovate," she concludes while offering her view on the company's culture of technological development.

Stephen Lepitak

Stephen Lepitak is editor of The Drum, with responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day running of the content produced for the various platforms run by the publication. Over the years he has interviewed agency network bosses such as Sir Martin Sorrell, Maurice Lévy and Arthur Sadoun, as well as Cindy Gallop, Kim Kardashian, film directors James Cameron, Spike Jonze, Richard Curtis and Lord David Puttnam. With a keen interest in media and breaking news, Lepitak has been with The Drum since 2005 and is based across its UK, US and Asia operations.

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