Consumers are shopping on their smartphones, but marketers have to look at mobile advertising different from desktop.

Consumer shopping habits have changed dramatically in recent years, especially with the wide adoption of browsing and buying on mobile devices. Incredibly, in the digital age, consumers are often evolving faster than marketers, leading to some critical misconceptions about mobile.

According to a recent study commissioned by Criteo, mobile transactions accounted for 29 percent of all U.S. ecommerce transactions. Within mobile, a 2015 IBM report states that smartphones drove 33.7 percent of all online traffic compared to tablets at 12.4 percent, showing the smartphone is the mobile device of choice. As mobile shopping becomes more prevalent and with 2016 purported to be the “year of ecommerce,” digital marketers are working hard to stay ahead of (or even catch up to) the shift in consumer spending habits on mobile devices. So what mobile marketing myths have these changing behaviors created?  The following are my top three, debunked:

 1. People just don’t want to buy things on their smartphones

The most common misconception is that consumers only use their smartphones on the go, to casually browse, or to do in-store price comparisons—rather than to actually make purchases. This is incorrect on a couple of fronts. According to a survey from HookLogic and MarketTree LLC, 60 percent of respondents had researched a product on a mobile phone – and the same study reports that 46 percent of respondents have made purchases on their mobile device. So while mobile devices give consumers the ability to get on-the-spot price estimates and product comparisons, smartphone purchases are actually happening once they’ve felt certain about their intended product.

In some ways, the device a consumer actually purchases on is irrelevant.  Consumers engage with content across multiple devices. Be it desktop, tablet or phone, consumers are tapping into all of their available channels to browse and make purchases. Even if a shopper opts not to buy on their phone, the phone may well serve as the primary influence driving a sale.  Think about this—the trackable transaction of where a sale occurs is merely an exercise in fulfillment.  Many marketers still envision an offline purchase event where the shopping and sale consummate in the same place.  In the new paradigm, the act of shopping/decision-making and the act of where a shopper ultimately buys are frequently divorced from each other. 


2. Nobody will seriously invest in mobile advertising until measurement is better

Companies have grappled in the past with mobile attribution and measurement, but this has not dissuaded marketers from investing significant dollars here. Comscore predicts by 2019 mobile ad spend should reach $65.9 billion, and it will make up 72 percent of total digital advertising spend.

As marketers continue to spend more on mobile, they will come under even greater pressure to understand how to measure their mobile results to achieve a higher ROI for their digital campaigns, which should lead to even greater adoption of these types of attribution tools. According to a recent study by Kenshoo and Forrester Consulting, 76 percent of marketers have moved beyond single-touch attribution, demonstrating that most of them find real value in determining what specific channels are driving incremental sales. Fortunately, some performance marketing companies, including HookLogic, have closed the mobile attribution gap by offering innovative new products and features that allow marketers to add more touchpoints and channels to their attribution strategy, leading the way in helping marketers a better understanding of their mobile marketing ROI.

3. Mobile advertising is just like desktop, but smaller

Mobile is littered with disruptive, intrusive and downright annoying advertising.  The worst of mobile advertising can often be one that mirrors desktop.  One reason is real estate. A small banner on a desktop serves as noticeable sideshow.  On mobile, especially smartphones, that small display banner can dominate and overwhelm the screen, serving as an unsavory barrier between the consumer and content.


The second reason is intent.  Smartphone consumers, typing and tapping with just two thumbs, demand economy of motion.  Digging through sites and dodging advertising to get to the content is guaranteed to frustrate. You see similar behaviors with mobile shoppers who will bypass Google when looking for products, going directly to retailers like BestBuy and Macy’s who have amazingly well-curated product information.  In the act of skipping the search engine, the mobile shopper has completely dropped a step to get to the information they need, and avoided the potential intrusion of bad advertising on mobile. This change forces marketers to completely re-evalutate the role each digital advertising option plays in their overall online marketing strategy.  When a brand is advertising on mobile, native advertising that blends seamlessly into the user experience is the best investment to make.

The growth of mobile will only accelerate from here. Marketers have no choice but to keep up with the evolving path to purchase. With so many devices and channels, digital marketers need to have a clear understanding of how to best use mobile to meet campaign goals and to ensure consumers have a seamless shopping experience.

HookLogic is a performance marketing platform that places advertisements for brands  across a network of e-commerce and travel sites.