More and more publishers are talking about the potential of mobile traffic. But what no one tells you about, is how desktop traffic is doing.

The reality is that this hidden gem of monetization holds more secrets than you might think. And once you’ll read this article, we know that you’re going to change your mind and your website optimization strategy.  

The main differences between desktop and mobile traffic

Quite impressive, right? So there’s no wonder why publishers are so eager to monetize this traffic slice. Not to speak about the fact that desktop traffic comes with some facilities that mobile traffic still doesn’t bring. 

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And while many will argue that mobile traffic is better, or that it pays better CR, while also being more active; there are a lot of perks to working with desktop traffic.

Google Chrome Web-Utilities only work on Desktop

This practically means that you can extend your ad space for affiliates that are interested in advertising for the Web Utilities vertical, without asking your users to download extra software. It just so happens that for the moment this is a no-go ground for mobile devices, especially on Chrome. 

So if you know that most of your users are navigating from Chrome, then your best chance at getting traffic that converts is to target desktop traffic.

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Desktop search results differ from mobile searches

Often the results can be completely different, when switching from desktop to mobile. This can happen because websites optimize differently, based on their traffic preferences and the devices they use. Also, sometimes organic results can be pushed down the path making a place to paid ads. 

As users like comfort and not scrolling too much to get what they want, even with the best SEO you risk being left on the outside, without getting any valuable traffic.

Desktop search layout differs from mobile searches

Since on mobile there isn’t a lot of display space, everything needs to be shown in one column. The way results are displayed is also a major game-changer, as for desktop the accent is placed on the text. Different than for mobile where you will see more images. 

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And here is where desktop displays act better, by allowing users to scroll more easily through search results, and even entice them to navigate on the following pages with ease. So if your site’s SEO isn’t taking you to the first page of results, with desktop traffic you still get a chance to attract some users even if you are on the second page. 

Click-Through Rate (CTR) differences between desktop and mobile devices

The first position CTR is much higher for desktop than for mobile. However, it does drop much more starting from the second result. But, if you worked hard on improving your website’s SEO and made it in the first place, then targeting desktop traffic can be the ace in the sleeve that you can use to increase your CTR.

More interested users can help increase your payout

The reality is that everybody has a mobile phone connected to the internet. So when a user takes the time to browse from a desktop device, you can assume that they allocate more time to browse for quality information. Also, they might be more willing to go over more results consisting of larger slices of text. 

For example: When you’re looking for airline tickets, you prefer using a desktop (or is that just me…). It allows you more space to properly view all the information – aside from the fact that oftentimes mobiles don’t display all the fine printing. Plus, it’s a lot simpler to navigate on page and on various tabs.

Lower bounce rate

As you can see, the bounce rates for desktop users are the lowest between all device types. This is yet another point that comes to strengthen the idea that desktop users are more likely to convert, as they are looking for specific information. 

Bounce Rates Benchmarks by Device, Image Source:

The bounce rate of a website is a traffic quality meter, which tells advertisers how likely it is for your users to convert to their ads. The lower your bounce rate, the better quality your traffic is. And as long as you will generate quality traffic, you’ll have a lot more chances to have better payouts. 

More space = more ease

In fact, it’s a lot simpler to optimize your website for desktop use, as compared to mobile. You mostly need to focus on your headlines, the above the fold’s unique selling point, and call to action(s) while also doing some A/B testing. 

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However, you will need to focus more of your attention on properly communicating your page’s importance to the search engines, in order to rank higher in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Also, having more space for display, your best choice is to invest more in long-tail keywords.

Website types and niches that work for desktop traffic

If we are to generalize, we observed that some website categories and niches perform better than others, on desktop devices. They are:

  • News
  • Streaming
  • Movies and music
  • Converters
  • Anime and games
  • Downloads

As you can understand, all these niches have two major user pain points in common – those for space and ease of movements. Sure, users could just as easily navigate on all these websites from mobile, but you must admit that it’s a lot more comfortable to have a broad display to read, watch or download movies and series, or just do your work with plenty of space for movement.

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However, if we go further and analyze these trends based on more elements (like formats ), we might discover that the situation changes.

What ad formats to choose?

With PropellerAds you can choose between 6 various methods that allow you to make the most of your website monetization. However, some formats perform better than others in certain combinations with your niche. 

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OnClick Popunder Ads

When we zoom on a bit on the most profitable and well-performing ad formats for desktop users. We know that they like space, and are open to reading more text than the ones using mobiles. It’s not by accident that the most popular is the OnClick Popunder Ad

When we checked, we saw that the main largest percentage of income and profit for publishers was generated by this large ad format. And if you’ve been monetizing your website with OnClick you will certainly confirm this.

However, if we need to take a step back and check what website genre this format goes best with, the results were different than those for desktop in general. The sites that perform best with Pounder are:

  • Streaming
  • Sports streaming
  • Anime & manga sites

Interstitials Ads

You can also try Interstitial – another one of our formats that has really good results on desktop devices. What makes a really big difference when using this format is proper configuration and optimization. Master that, and you’ll join our publishers that manage to gain quite an impressive extra income with it.

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In-Page Push (IPP) banner

But then again, the In-Page Push (IPP) banner got pretty similar results on these specific websites. In fact, this format performs so well that many of our partners prefer IPP to Native ads.

We also noticed very good results from publishers that for some reason couldn’t add OnClick on their website. Instead, they replaced it with a combination of Push Notifications and IPP. Because these two formats complement each other so well, our publishers managed to maximize their monetization on desktop traffic. Their results were almost as good as using OnClick.

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Another very fortunate combination is IPP along with OnClick Popunder. It is said to bring the best results amongst many of our publishers. 

What GEOs are the best for desktop traffic

Of course, some GEOs perform best when it comes to desktop traffic. And we even went the long way to find them and share them with you:

  • ?? US 
  • ?? GB 
  • ?? DE 
  • ?? NO 
  • ?? AT 
  • ?? NL
  • ?? UA

One thing that you might notice about these GEOs is that aside from UA all are Tier 1 countries. It just so happens that these countries are amongst some of the best-paid tiers. Add to that the fact that desktop traffic has better conversion potential and you’ve got yourself a shortcut to great profits.

Moreover, although on mobile you would be tempted to really zoom in as much as possible and target by locality, for desktop you don’t necessarily need to do it. Unless you want to, and with PropellerAds you have the choice. 

Bottom line

Even though mobile traffic is more expensive, publishers shouldn’t forget to maintain a desktop version of the site. Especially when it comes to sites with video content – users will always want to watch a movie or sports event with good quality, on a big screen.

Plus, knowing the potential that desktop traffic has for your overall website monetization, it would be hard not to optimize your website to attract this kind of traffic.

However, there is a solution if you want to target all types of traffic, no matter the device: optimize your website to be responsive on all device types. This way, you will be there for your users, wherever they are – at home, at work, or on the go. 


This copywriting enthusiast has an experience of over 8-years in creating engaging online marketing content for various verticals and formats. Out of passion for copy, she devoted 4 years to master the art of sales. Her journalisms-instilled active listening, combined with the sales-bound charm give her the superpower to break boundaries and establish emotional connections with the users.