The Pros and Cons of Facebook Mobile vs. Desktop

PR Updates

The Pros and Cons of Facebook Mobile vs. Desktop

Jan 29, 2013 | PR Updates

The Pros and Cons of Facebook Mobile vs. Desktop

Jan 29, 2013 | PR Updates

Facebook’s mobile platform is fast-growing and offers unique opportunities, and many marketers are learning  to capitalize on this dramatic change in use. Using paid tools or the Facebook Power Editor Chrome Extension, you're able to specifically target mobile users with ads. This article, written by Stanna Johnson from Qwaya, explains some of the key points to consider when considering the mobile aspects of this widely-used PR tool.

As more and more Facebook usage moves from the desktop to the mobile version of the site, user behavior is changing. Mobile Facebook usage has exploded over the last couple of years, and in late 2012 there were 543 million using the mobile platform.

FB mobile growth

This means that over 50% of Facebook users visit the site on their mobile phones. And they spend more time on Facebook than on any other mobile site, too. In the U.S., as is the case in many other countries, Facebook time spent is almost twice as much as Google, for instance.

For more info around mobile usage, see this Facebook infographic.

How This Affects Facebook Marketing

For brands on Facebook, the fact that there are essentially two different versions of the site can get a bit confusing at times. There are pros and cons to both desktop and mobile to keep in mind, especially when it comes to advertising.

Desktop: The Good and Bad

The Good:

  • The desktop version of Facebook enables you to reach a larger audience overall. This is due to the fact that, even with an emerging mobile market, the majority of Facebook users still access the site through desktop.
  • Desktop is still the superior model in terms of features and customization and control. If you want ultimate control over your posts, as in the length, format, etc, then desktop benefits you more.
  • In terms of user options, desktop makes for easier engagement and you’re most likely going to reach more desktop news feeds of more of your base when you make a post or target an ad.

The Bad:

  • Facebook is ultimately going to place more of its focus on mobile. This may be a year or two down the road, but desktop is going to play second fiddle in the Facebook band.
  • For advertising, you’re ultimately going to spend more money when you create ads targeted desktop. The positive here is that you’re reaching more people, but many businesses simply cannot afford the investment needed to reach so many.
  • While it’s easier to physically engage with desktop users, the ads themselves aren’t as engaging. They’re not as trusted, they’re not as popular, and they’re not delivered in the same fashion as a mobile ad.

Mobile: The Good and Bad

The Good:

  • The biggest positive here, obviously, is that the mobile market is going to explode in the coming years. We’re still climbing up towards the peak.
  • Mobile Facebook makes it a lot easier to target someone with an ad directly. Some businesses wish to employ marketing methods that are more personal, and blending mobile marketing with Facebook advertising gives a marketer an easy and direct line of communication with an individual.
  • For the mobile Facebook ad, the click-through ratios are higher, the ads bring in higher engagement numbers, they cost less, and users take more actions and are more easily guided with these types of ads.

The Bad:

  • When you’re using mobile Facebook to market, you’re reaching a market that’s more person-based instead of people-based. You’re reaching out only to mobile users and not the Facebook population in general.
  • The sheer number of mobile devices you may need to format material for can create a lot more work for something that may not pay off as much as desktop. Not only do Smartphones differ in terms of OS, but you have to contend with other mobile devices as well.
  • The ad options on Facebook mobile are more limited. Desktop is still the more feature-rich environment, and while that is inevitably going to change, mobile doesn’t quite have the features as of yet to bring in more marketers to force Facebook’s hand.

Since the overall engagement on mobile ads is higher – people tend to like, comment and share more on their phones – this is something to have in mind when creating the ads. Try to make posts that are likable and sharable as they are and tie sponsored stories to them.

In general, you should see mobile advertising as an opportunity to strengthen your brand and spread the word about your business.

The Takeaway
For smaller, more personal brands that wish to emphasize customer relationships and engagement, mobile Facebook offers a great platform. You can cater directly to a smaller, more direct market, building trust and working to keep customers satisfied. On the flip side, if you want to target a much larger audience, such as international markets, desktop has everything you could want.

But while there are pros and cons to each version of Facebook, you shouldn’t think in terms of a “winner” in this battle. Implement a Facebook marketing strategy that takes into account both versions, and test to learn what works best for you.

This article was written by Stanna Johnson from Qwaya. Stanna is an online writer and a social media enthusiast who loves to write about the latest social media trends.

Written By Kellye Crane
Kellye Crane is the founder of Solo PR Pro, which provides the tools, education, advocacy and community resources needed for indies to succeed and grow. She's a veteran and award-winning communicator with more than 20 years of experience - 19 of them solo.


  1. Having a timestamp on the article would be pretty great, you know, in this fast changing tech landscape.

  2. You read my mind

  3. what would you summarize to be the pros and cons of Facebook mobile app vs. the desktop coming from a user? ( in terms of choices, navigation, etc.)

  4. Yup

  5. I just run an ad on Facebook, engagement on desktops were 4x higher than on mobile. Mobile had 10x higher reach, but thats not that important because I’m running on a budget, desktop reach is enough. So I guess, forget what other people experience or write, testing is the only way to figure it out.

  6. Hi Johny, I would not say dismiss others experience because we can learn from others. However, I definitely agree that testing is imperative. Even the best advice needs to be tested, refined and tested again to fit your business and audience. Thanks for weighing in!