Friday Chronicle #17: Desktop is dead, mobile is the new black in web design and advertising.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

At the end of August 2015, there were 170 million computers sold. This is an increase of 15% compared to last year (source: Gartner). Nevertheless the internet world became mobile. With 1.9 billion smartphones and 360 million tablets to be sold this year (source: Statista, techcrunch), people connect more to the web via their mobile devices than something else. Most of important websites in the world, from brands to media owners, governments or museums have all more traffic coming from mobile than desktop (average of 54 to 60%). It is not a matter of generations but a matter of user experience. Connecting to the world wide web is much faster, simpler and user friendly from a touch-screen mobile device than from a desktop computer.

Search is dominated by mobile now

When we look to search engines, today there are more searches donne via mobile than from desktops (source: Google). In some countries like the US, Japan or the UK it might represent 65% of all web searches. This means that a majority of people looking for something, should find it via their mobile devices, mostly a smartphone. In some countries like Malaysia, Indonesia or Brazil, mobile web is cheaper than desktop. Rather than buying a computer and acquiring a web subscription, you just need a smartphone (that you can also use to call people actually) and that is it. You do not need to be at the office or at home, you can access to the web everywhere. So because it is easier, cheaper and faster to access the web via mobile, naturally web searches increase exponentially.

Social Media is a mobile booster

If you think internet was a revolution, think about Social Media as one of the biggest game changer in society in the past 50 years. Social media connected people in ways that we would never imagine. Facebook with more than 1 Billion users and 90% of the entire internet population having a social media profile, Social Media brought distances and time in this planet to a more “close” dimension.
mobile-users-social-networks  social-media-everywhere
By inspiring people to connect all the time and embracing mobile from the start, Social Media networks became part of people’s life. With 968 million daily users, Facebook embraced mobile since technically speaking it was possible. Around 70% of users connects almost exclusively via mobile. Some social networks like Foursquare and Instagram are purelly mobile. 73% of all wired American teens use daily social networks. They tend to spend around 2 to 2.5 hours everyday on social networks. This number is increasing every quarter. This is 30% of the total time spent online.

Websites need to evolve or die

As we can see, the world is mobile now. So why bother having a desktop website? Companies are slowly but surely evolving from a desktop centric web development towards a mobile-first approach. Websites like Time magazine completely embraced this shift by developping a mobile website only. Basically the tablet version serves desktop. It is easy to see as you do not have a top menu any more and the only thing you find is a “burger menu” on the top left side.
After a long debate that started with the battle between Desktop and mobile, tablets brought an interesting bridge between the two. Responsive and adaptative design technologies helped filling the gaps and now, we are in post-revolution phase. We are analysing the data and building websites accordingly. So if you think new website, your first idea is “mobile”.

The world of media advertising is shifting already

By the way things go, we could assume that at one point, 100% of media investments will be mobile. As we explained, the majority ot web traffic is mobile. In the world you can find almost 4 million mobile apps in the main app stores. So most of time consumed online comes from a mobile device. This means that brands looking for message exposure, need to consider mobile in their media buying.
If we take the example of social networks there are 4 main platforms that gathers 90% of all media investments: Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Instagram. They all have a major mobile logic. Let’s take Facebook as a main example. How people use facebook? Everything happens in the newsfeed on mobile. Less than 2 people out of 20 checks a company / friend facebook page / profile. It all happens in the newsfeed on mobile.
For companies who are looking for visibility and engagement, you can forget the company’s facebook page. While we all spent millions to populate the company’s timeline, now we realize that nobody checks it. Instagram is launching the possibility to push a sponsored message to Instagram users without even having an account in the platform. It shows how quickly things are evolving. Soon, nobody will need a Facebook page. As we are experiencing the slow but surely death of organic reach, at one point you will be able to use Facebook as a market place only to push customized messages to a certain target audience.

In a world where mobility became “mobile”, web designers and advertisers need to embrace the smartphone and tablet revolutions. In order to optimize your web investments. This is not only a matter of budgets but above all a matter of user experience. Most of your new customers might only engage with your brand only on mobile. So what image/experience do you wish to offer? Think wisely but think it fast.


Info sourced at techcrunch, Statista, Wikipedia, and Forbes magazine. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available. Images are used for illustration purposes only.

José Amorim

José Amorim has been working in the luxury industry for more than 15 years. In the past 8 years, he joined his personal passion for digital culture and his luxury background to develop digital strategies for premium brands. He is the founder of and is happy to share his passion here.