Mobile vs. Desktop: See Which Medium Wins in 5 Key Comparisons

It's probably closer than you think

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Mobile's come a long way in recent years as an advertising and marketing category. But what competitive edges does mobile offer as we head into the fourth quarter of 2014?

We asked several marketers to weigh in on advantages that mobile has over desktop advertising and vice versa, and here were their most intriguing responses.

1. Engagement: Advantage Mobile

"It's not even close—mobile drives better results than desktop," said Mitchell Reichgut, CEO of video ads player Jun Group. "We see mobile video delivering better viewability, completion rates and user engagement than video running on desktop. Consumers have personal, intimate connections with their mobile devices, and mobile video is delivered full-screen without all the distractions."

2. Undivided Attention: Advantage Mobile

Jay Gould, CEO of Yashi, agreed with Reichgut's take on mobile video "because it's 100 percent share of voice and provides the highest impact to consumers, taking over the entire screen."

3. Location: Advantage Mobile—but Not as Much as You Think

"By taking advantage of the variety of data available from mobile devices, as well as the intimate relationship users have with them, marketers have a greater potential to deliver the right message to the right consumer at the right moment and more effectively influence actions and decisions," said Michael Kelly, marketing rep for the American Licorice Company.

But David Hayes, Tumblr's head of creative strategy, said that "desktops are gaining some of the location- and context-based awareness previously only available on phones. What we know as 'desktop' and 'mobile' are truly changing."

4. E-commerce: Advantage Desktop

Mobile and desktop are like "chocolate and peanut butter," per David Hewitt, vp, mobile, SapientNitro. "Creating the right brand connections across multiple screens can produce a powerful halo effect," he said. But when it comes to sales, Hewitt remarked, "tablets have two to three times higher commerce conversion rates than smartphones, rates approaching desktops, plus they deliver to households with higher discretionary incomes spending roughly 20 percent more per checkout than desktop, so we encourage clients to optimize their sites for tablet."

5. Visual Impact/Screen Size: Advantage Desktop

This is an obvious one that was brought up in desktop's favor by multiple interviewees. Yet Paul Bremer, Rhythm chief revenue officer, may have put it best when discussing the importance of cross-device mind-set: "Advertisers should remember that people will watch the best screen in front of them, and therefore marketers must be present in every environment if they hope to reach a busy audience that doesn't discriminate between devices."

***This is the last installment of our mobile-focused series for Advertising Week. Click here to view them all.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.