adMarketplace’s Adam Epstein on Why Screen Size Matters For Advertisers

Adam EpsteinAdam Epstein is the President & COO at adMarketplace, the first programmatic marketplace for search partner advertising. Adam joined the company in 2003 and became President & COO in 2006. Before becoming an Internet entrepreneur, Adam clerked for a US District Court judge and was an attorney at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP in New York. The Makegood recently spoke with Adam about

The Makegood: adMarketplace has new performance data that points to trends in screen size and consumer behavior. Could you elaborate on what this data sheds light on? 

This data compares the likelihood of a conversion on three device types (small screen phone, large screen phone, and tablet) against a desktop computer. Consumer performance on desktop is typically better than performance on other device types, and our data shows that mobile performance improves as screen sizes increase. This suggests that user experience matters. Consumers are more comfortable completing transactions via their device when the screen for that device is larger. Its seems that mobile device manufacturers are hearing the same thing from consumers as screen sizes are expanding. 

The Makegood: Why do you think that a larger screen leads to more purchases? After all, the product is the same regardless of where the consumer views it. What significant attribute does a large screen have that a smaller screen does not?

Larger screens facilitate a more comfortable (easier) user experience. To make a purchase, customers often need to complete forms with credit card information and delivery information. Form fills are easier on large screen phones. It is also easier to read ad copy and interact with landing pages on larger screens.

The Makegood: Small-screen phones have the lowest percentage of purchases, whereas large-screen phones and tablets have a much higher rate. Is it still worth it for brands to advertise on the smaller platforms, particularly since they usually bring the prices down to compensate for the lower conversion rates?

Yes, for several reasons. First, as you mentioned, lots of consumers have small screens. So if you avoid small screens, you are limiting your potential market. The key is that lower cost per clicks can compensate for the  lower conversion rates. Google’s enhanced campaigns doesn’t allow for granular bidding by screen size, so you’re stuck with one-size-fits-all bidding for all the different screen sizes. When advertisers can manage bids by device type, it becomes much more efficient to reach consumers with smaller screens.

The Makegood: Why do you believe that form-fills occur more frequently on large-screen phones than on tablets, even though the purchase rate on tablets is more than 30% higher than purchases on large-screen phones?

One possible reason could be the that people tend to use tablets in the home, so when faced with a difficult form fill, they can put down the tablet and walk over to their laptop or desktop.

The Makegood: How do you see these figures changing in the future? Do you believe that tablets will remain higher than large-screen phones? 

Do you see conversion rates and purchases decreasing on computer screens? What this data shows is that user experience rules. If an in-app experience on a small screen phone beats a web-based laptop experience for a user, the mobile app experience will convert just as well, if not better. We see this in search, where users no longer automatically fire up the desktop computer and go to when they want to find something. They are just as likely to grab their phone and open an app.

The user transition to mobile happened very quickly so many advertisers are very much still in a transition period. They have mobile web landing pages that are not great on small screen – and its not really their fault. Its a new medium compared to the desktop web experience, and companies are still iterating on ideas and figuring out a set of effective practices. We see improvement by our advertisers on their mobile sites literally every day.

The Makegood: Thank you, Adam.