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Stop Thinking Mobile, Start Thinking Smartphone v. Tablet

Posted by Jack Gazdik on August 12th, 2013 at 7:09 am

Smartphones and tablets are typically lumped into the same category—mobile. While, at surface level, these two types of devices may seem very similar, the way they are used could not be more different.

Smartphones are an out-of-home, location-based technology. In fact, 60% of smartphone usage takes place outside the home. In contrast, 83% of tablet usage happens in-home. Meaning, tablet usage has more in common with your home computer than your smartphone.

This drastic difference in usage also affects the consumer’s path to purchase. 55% of tablet users convert online compared to just 20% of smartphone users, of which 77% convert in-store.

Regardless of device, more than half of all smartphone and tablet activities lead to conversion. So the question is no longer should I market to “mobile” devices, but what device type should I market to? If you’re looking to drive in-store conversions, targeting smartphones may be the better option. But, if driving on-line conversions is your goal, target tablets.

Data from xAd – Mobile Path to Purchase 2013

2 Responses to “Stop Thinking Mobile, Start Thinking Smartphone v. Tablet”

  1. Jemma Wong says:

    Hi Jack,

    This is interesting data to have at hand and often we lump mobile or in-app ads in the same category.

    If conversion is taking place at different stages in the consumer decision making process, what does that mean for levels of engagement?

    Would you recommend any further literature on how we should be tailoring creative solutions for the smartphone and the tablet?


    • Jack Gazdik says:

      Hi Jemma,

      Thanks for reading!

      I don't think conversions are necessarily taking place at different stages of the consumer decision making process. The difference between targeting smartphones or targeting tablets should be based on what the final conversion is and where it is happening. If your final conversion is an in-store purchase, than you may want to target smartphones because smartphones are used more frequently out-of-home. Tablets, on the other hand, are use primarily for personal use in-home for online browsing. This means more on-line conversions happen on tablets due to their use.

      Its not necessarily about where the consumer is in the decision making process, and more about what kind of engagement you want, and if that engagement caters more to a smartphone user or tablet user.

      As far as further literature goes, the subdivision of mobile is still very new. I recommend following sites like iMediaConnection, ClickZ and MediaPost. My agencies blog socialontherocks.com also covers mobile along with a variety of the topics.

      I hope this helps clear things up, and I'd be happy to answer any more questions.

      – Jack

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