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Mobile vs Desktop in 2024: Navigating the Shifting Landscape of Digital Content Optimization

When it comes to optimizing your digital content which should you focus on, mobile or desktop?

Mobile vs Desktop

Mobile internet use is on the rise across the globe, up 3.8% compared to last year (to be exact), while desktop use, which includes laptops, is down 4.7% (YOY). In the context of “mobile vs desktop,” these stats from might lead you to believe that focusing more on mobile search and mobile content compared to desktop is the way forward.

This isn’t a bad train of thought, but let’s first consider a few points.

Who is your target audience? Where are they? If you are a hyper-local business, global internet usage isn’t as important.

What do your analytics say about your current users? It is great to know what is going on globally or even nationally, however, your understanding of your current market gives you data about what has been working so far. That understanding leads to a better informed decision when trying to decide how to pivot based on a multiple data points.

Let’s start with national data.

I would have thought mobile search was skyrocketing in the US the way it is hyped up as “the thing” to focus on. When I am around town or I attend networking events I see more and more people using their phones to search for content. Mobile search and internet use are on the rise globally, so a natural assumption would be that mobile is on the rise in the US.

But is it? A little.

In the US, mobile search is up .8% (Oct 2022 – Oct 2023). The more interesting number is that desktop search is down -2.1%. This means that more people are opting to search on other devices besides mobile or a computer. This could be things like a tv, smart AI device, a tablet, etc.

What is the takeaway?

Though mobile search is on the rise, people are still using desktops to search. However, depending on the industry and your audience, you might want to consider the searchability of your content on other devices.

Now your own data.

When clients ask about marketing strategies and what would be best for them to reach their goals, one of the first places I suggest to gain insight is their own current data. Look at what you have already been doing. Check to see how your audience is responding and what are the demographic of your audience.

Google Business Profile Insights

This is a snapshot of my Google Business Profile performance for a 30 day period. This shows that a greater percentage of people find me through search on a desktop, not mobile.

My “map” numbers are exceptionally low, which isn’t surprising since I don’t see people at my office. However, if you have a store front that customers come to on a regular basis, your map numbers might be more important to your overall strategy. Pay attention to how this ranks compared to Google Search.

Review your own Google Business Profile Insights month to month to see how people are viewing your Business Profile. These are just a few variables to keep in mind when considering your overall focus.

mobile vs desktop - Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile > Insights > Overview

Google Analytics

When you add your website to Google Analytics, you get some amazing detailed data points that will help you understand your audience; who they are, where they are, and how they access your website. Google Analytics does MUCH more than this, however, for today’s purpose, we will stick with knowing that it can help us understand mobile vs desktop usage patterns.

This is a snapshot of my website analytics for a 30 day period. This report shows that 78.7% of my website views were on a desktop and just 21.3% were mobile. This combined with additional data from Analytics about how people got to my website (direct vs search) would help make a more informed decision about potential devices to focus.

Whether you use Google Analytics or another analytics/Insights plugin on your website, review how people are viewing your website. These are just more data points to help you make a more informed decision on how to move forward.

mobile vs desktop - Google Analytics
Google Analytics > Reports > Users > Tech > Overview

What now?

Now that you have reviewed your analytics, what do they tell you? Was your Google Business found more on desktop and your website was viewed more on desktop? What should you do about the trend of searching on mobile? What should be the focus? Where should you dedicate time and resources?

Consider your target audience. If you have a higher number of people viewing your content on desktop, think about your audience. Is there a reason this could be? Perhaps your audience is in an age bracket that prefers desktop viewing.

Do keep in mind national data and trends, so don’t disregard mobile all together. Perhaps a more conscious focus on mobile, would increase your mobile views, gaining you some reach and discoverability.

Regardless of your strategy and focus, you still should make your content mobile friendly. Your website needs to be mobile compatible. You still need good mobile speed for your website.

There is no one right answer to how you should be marketing your company. It depends on many factors and a good understanding of your specific business. Check your analytics monthly and make necessary changes to keep your business in the forefront of your audience’s minds!

Happy marketing!

Hi! I’m Carolyn.

I help small business owners manifest their destiny through functional business coaching and social media coaching. My passion is helping people discover their greatness. If you are seeking a better life full of happiness and joy and an abundance of success, let’s talk. Your best life is waiting.