AdvertisingAffiliate Marketing

Desktop vs. Mobile Traffic: What All Affiliates Need to Know

Mobile vs Desktop traffic

This post is also available in: ES

The article was first published on November 4, 2019, and was updated for accuracy reasons.

In 2016, mobile internet usage surpassed desktop traffic. Many called this event the biggest shift since the creation of the digital playground known as the internet. But, to many affiliates, this change only created a bunch of questions and made it harder to master either of the two formats.

Today, the statistics still show that mobile traffic takes the biggest market share.

Yes, there are MANY differences between mobile and desktop traffic. Most of these are due to the innate nature of these gadgets. But, regardless of what the reason may be, affiliates need to understand the difference between the traffic that comes from mobile and visitors that are on desktop devices in order to succeed.

Here’s where we come in.

Let’s take a look at the most important elements you need to keep in mind in order to build individual campaigns with mobile and desktop traffic.


Mobile Dominance: An Omni-Present Phenomenon?

There are 5,44 Billion unique intenet users as of 2024, many of which use both mobile and desktop devices. But, one of the main differences between the two is the time of day at which these are used.

Desktop computers are a vital business tool, so most of these devices are used between seven in the morning and seven in the afternoon.

In Switzerland, the number of online purchases on desktop devices skyrockets around seven o’clock in the morning and hits its peak around two in the afternoon, then slowly cools down until 6:00 in the evening.

Mobile devices, on the other hand, can be taken anywhere and used at any time. Therefore, their usage is more consistent throughout the day.

Besides the actual type of traffic, you also need to take the daily peak times into consideration for your ads to have a profound impact.


Specifics of Mobile Traffic

Mobile traffic comes from devices that can be taken anywhere, which automatically translate to elements that are unique to these gadgets. The list includes:

  • More Targeting Options: Including connection type and carrier targeting

  • Target Your Audience On-the-Go: Mobile devices move with people, giving you a broader reach and time window.

  • Higher Conversion Rate: Mobile ads can take up as much as 80% of the screen, whereas desktop ads don’t. This results in more attention and higher conversion rates for mobile.

  • Different Conversion Rates Across Networks: WiFi and mobile network users have different priorities due to data usage, so they offer different conversion rates.

  • Wider Range of Offers: Aside from traditional models, mobile campaigns can also feature CPI, SMS subscription, and other unique models.

  • Unique Verticals: You can run campaigns with offers from unique verticals like carrier billing, mobile apps, and mobile content.

  • Higher Analytics and Optimization Requirements: There are countless operating systems, screen sizes, and other variants. Therefore, you’ll need to focus more on analyzing and optimizing your ads.

PropellerAds - Push notification preview tool
PropellerAds Push Notification preview tool

GEOs and Verticals that Have Better Mobile Performance

The majority of verticals perform well in mobile campaigns, but entertainment campaigns for tablets tend to steal the show because the traffic is much cheaper due to lower demand. Not to mention the fact that tablet screen sizes allow for the development of killer creatives.

As for the best GEO, developing regions like LATAM, Asia, and some parts of Africa are ideal for these types of campaigns. Here is a table with more insights:

Vertical Geo 
Extensions North America:United States (US)Canada (CA)Europe:United Kingdom (GB)Germany (DE)Italy (IT)Spain (ES)France (FR)Australia:Australia (AU)
iGaming US, BR, CL, PE, KE, NG, ZA, EG, IN, PH, GB, IT, NL, CA, DE, FR, NZ, ID, SE, PH, MX
eCommerce US , ID, PL, DE, PH, TH, MY, GB, KR, IT, FR
FinanceEurope: DE, FR, ES, GB,CZ, NLAfrica: NG, ZAAsia: IN, JP, TR, TH, ID, PH, MY, KR, PK LATAM: BR, MX
Games PL, DE, US, TR , FR , HU, VN, CZ

Desktop Traffic Specifics

Desktops are the most established type of traffic, and even though they don’t hold the official crown anymore, they are known for being as consistent as rain in Amsterdam.

  • Instills More Confidence: This is especially true for the silver generation, so keep this in mind if you work with an older demographic.
  • Internet Speed is Not that Big of a Factor: Small delays in desktops are not critical, plus they are almost non-existent due to cheap quality hosting and lightning-fast connections.
  • Ideal for Business-Related Campaigns: Desktop traffic soars during business hours, so finance and similar verticals tend to work best on desktops.
  • More Information Flexibility: Desktops have big keyboards so you can request additional information and have longer forms without driving users crazy, which can’t be achieved through mobile.

GEOs and Verticals that Have Better Desktop Performance

As we mentioned before, verticals that require longer forms or that are related to business topics shine bright in desktop campaigns. As for GEO, these campaigns perform consistently across all regions but can see a boost when targeting countries with older populations.

Here are some insights on the top GEOs and verticals from PropellerAds stats:

Vertical Geo 
iGaming BR, PH, VN, ID, ZA, IN, TH, MY, ZM, AO, CO, MZ, NG, MZ, CI, PE, CM, KE, EC, CD, MW, ML, TZ , CL, EG, GH
iOS Apps ( VPNs ) BR, MX, SA, KR, PH, EG, TR , JP
Android apps ( Cleaners, Antivirus, Other ) PH, IN, ID, BR, TH, ZA, NG, MX
Finance CZ, IN, GR, HU, EG, NG, SA, KE
eCommerce TH, PH, ID, MY, VN , SG, JP
Mobile Content ID, NG, CL, MY, PH, CM, SN, KE, DZ, GH, CD

Desktop and mobile traffic has a huge number of unique characteristics. But, the specifics listed above should help you understand each type of traffic at its core and allow you to create campaigns that convert.

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