Facebook Mobile Ads Generate 72% Higher Returns Than Desktop

Despite producing a lower conversion rate than their desktop counterparts, direct response mobile campaigns on Facebook actually provide a 72% higher return on ad spend (ROAS), according to data from Rakuten Marketing.

On average, Facebook mobile ads generate:

  • 63% higher click-through rates than desktop;

  • 33% lower conversion rates than desktop; and


  • A 70% lower cost-per-click rate than desktop.

So while consumers are more likely to click on a Facebook ad on mobile but are less likely to convert, the much cheaper cost-per-click rate means retailers can optimize their marketing and advertising strategies within the social network and prioritize mobile investments.

Bob Buch, SVP of Social at Rakuten Marketing, noted that while the ROAS results initially surprised him due to the latency of the mobile experience compared to the desktop, cheaper mobile advertising costs combined with 1.03 billion daily mobile Facebook users gave plenty of reason for mobile’s prosperity.

“It’s basic supply and demand…seemingly everyone uses Facebook on their mobile phone,” Buch said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “The people that are accessing Facebook on desktop are becoming a rarer breed, even though there’s still a lot of them.”

Advertising on Facebook mobile costs less than the desktop option, he added. “If you are spending less to reach those people [via mobile] and to get those clicks, then even if the conversion rate is lower, the overall return on ad spend is going to be higher,” said Buch.

Social Ads Bring In 192% More Revenue Than Expected

The survey also revealed discrepancies between Facebook conversion tracking and web analytics tools, which are costing advertisers insights into as much as 192% more attributable revenue and the higher ROAS for mobile.

While the discrepancies between Facebook conversion tracking and web analytics platform are significant for mobile, they are minimal for desktop, at only 3% on average. While one might think that the inherent challenges associated with cross-device measurement accounts for the disproportionately high discrepancy on mobile, this is not the case.

So why should retailers believe Facebook’s tracking data? For one, Facebook conversion tracking captures all interactions after the shopper clicks through the advertisement, but many standard web analytics tools typically only capture the last interaction the user had before clicking through.

Additionally, web analytics platforms that rely on tracking cookies cannot accurately measure cross-device conversions, since shoppers can block them on desktop and mobile. If shoppers block cookies online, it becomes nearly impossible to measure conversions and attributable revenue for cross-device campaigns.

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