Retailers can no longer afford to adopt a laissez faire fair mentality when it comes to mobile advertising. Post-desktop ecommerce is quickly becoming the new reality.

While desktop traffic has indeed been stagnant for a couple years, the total volume doesn’t appear to have fallen – yet.  Instead, mobile advertising traffic has risen past the level of desktop, but so far appears to be additive.

Using an initial framework of our paid search marketing data to represent the mobile trend as a whole, we’ll be focusing on how to maximize your mobile effort for Paid Search & Google Shopping, Amazon advertising, and Social Media Advertising.

First, let’s break down the Paid Search perspective on mobile and illuminate opportunities for ecommerce retailers to take advantage of.

The Rise of Mobile Advertising has Been Relentless

Over half of all Google paid search clicks are now coming from mobile devices, and the trend is only growing.  Continuing at a pace in keeping with the most aggressive of projections, mobile paid search clicks are virtually on par with desktop.

Restrict data to the top-performing Google Shopping channel, and the mobile revolution has already arrived. Mobile shopping clicks overtook desktop clicks sometime in the summer of 2015 and continue to rise.

In managing over $200 million yearly in paid search spend for ecommerce merchants, our insights are more than just anecdotal.  The mobile trend line, while not unexpected, is meaningful nonetheless.

Google Text & Shopping Ads by Device

Mobile is nearly at parity with desktop computers.

Two years ago, 70% of the click share was coming from desktops.  Now desktop click share has fallen to 45%, with mobile clicks just shy of that mark, rising to 42%.

It gets worse for retailers relying on a primary desktop browser experience.  When you consider that a touch-focused tablet experience is often closer to a mobile than desktop, the dominance of desktop is already a thing of the past.  Mobile + tablet click share is now 55%.

Desktop text ad CTR has fallen by nearly 25% Y/Y according to our Q1 2016 data.  An increase in search impressions over the same period has almost exactly compensated for the lower CTR, keeping desktop click volume steady.

Google may be artificially supporting desktop clicks for the time being through their ongoing aggressive optimizations of the desktop search experience, most notably in their expanded text ads.  We expect to see a gradual decline of desktop clicks over the next few quarters after their optimizations catch up with them.

Google Shopping represents 51% of all Google search ad clicks, and we’re currently seeing 55% coming from mobile.  In looking at the raw volume of clicks, Google shopping clicks have been steadily increasing across all devices.

Growth Opportunities

Retailers aren’t typically applauding the rise of mobile, because, let’s face it, mobile conversion rates tend to lag far behind those of a desktop.

Yet when you consider that 70% of all of Amazon’s holiday sales were from mobile, it is clear that near-perfect mobile optimization has the power to dramatically boost conversion rate.

So don’t feed yourself the line about mobile traffic being impossible to convert. There is a great deal of potential for growth when your mobile strategy lines up with the current and future reality.

Most currently accepted customer acquisition strategies were formulated in the previous reality of 10%-20% mobile traffic.  Now with 50%-70% of traffic coming from mobile, these strategies demand a second look.

It probably wasn’t too long ago that you went “all in” on your current mobile strategy, yet retailer success is defined by the ability to appropriately adapt to changing trends. Well, as we’re sure you’ve noticed, the mobile trend has been changing quickly.

For paid search, mobile is just approaching the tipping point. Even with the staggering growth it’s seen recently, it’s still at a near-equal balance to desktop statistically.

Mobile Ground Zero: It Starts With Your Website

Adapting your website to the ever-changing trends in digital marketing is not just important, it is necessary to keep your company from losing out on potential business.

The strides mobile has made these last few years has led to a desktop (+mobile!) website strategy. There has been a huge shift by many companies to build a website that is responsive to both desktops and mobile.

Yes, responsive design is elegant and efficient.  A purely responsive design certainly does a wonderful job altering the look of a site by hiding, displaying, and resizing objects.

Sadly though, this structure is unable to alter the entire mobile experience from page flow to checkout.

It would be one thing if the audiences were functionally equivalent except for the size of the device.  Yet the reality is that differing impulses, concerns, and even product affinities are present between the man out walking his dog and the man sitting in front of his desktop computer.

Given that we are fast approaching a world with mobile as the primary traffic source for virtually all retailers, a mobile-first strategy is becoming just as reasonable as desktop-first responsive websites appeared to be three years ago.

Perhaps you can’t think of any major gains to be had in your current mobile website experience, responsive or not.

While this could very well be true, just make sure you’re being honest with yourself in this estimation.  “I wouldn’t change it” and “It’s not important enough to change” can easily become masks covering up the true reality of “I can’t change it.”

This isn’t a riff against responsive design as much as a riff against making mobile subservient to desktop.

It’s important to stay ahead of the curve, especially in a constantly shifting and changing market like ecommerce. Being left behind with a website that doesn’t have a strong mobile focus can directly impact your overall ROI and do major damage in the long term.

If you’d like to discover even more mobile insights, download the full Mobile-First report now. This complimentary report goes into even more detail on the trends and statistics surrounding everything mobile, and should be a staple for ecommerce retailers.