LONDON: The majority of mobile device users prefer to consume content on desktops or laptops, according to new research, even though they are increasingly using those same mobile devices to browse. 

A study from Vibrant Media revealed that 81% of smartphone users and 71% of tablet users would rather use their desktop or laptop when it came to consuming content. This built on previous research showing that two thirds of the UK's top print publications lack a digital site which renders effectively on mobile devices.

Tom Pepper, managing director of Vibrant Media, UK, said that consumers now expected to be able to use any device comfortably, but said they "don't feel that publishers' sites will match their expectations" as regards mobile.

He added, however, that a separate, fully optimised mobile site was not a necessity to give consumers an effective mobile experience.

Publishers could just ensure that the editorial rendered effectively on handheld devices and at the same time they could replace desktop-only ad formats "with much nimbler ads which work across desktops, laptops, tablets and the small screen format of smartphones".

Despite the explosive growth of smartphones and tablets in recent years, Pepper noted many publishers continued to rely on ad formats that had been developed for desktop devices to serve consumers on handheld devices. But these tended to either obscure editorial or were difficult to see.

"Such clumsy ad display is a big problem," he stated. "It contributes to consumers preferring to consume content on a device other than their smartphone or tablet device, which in turn prevents publishers from realising the revenue they can gain from mobile traffic."

At a basic practical level such ads were also problematic for advertisers as half of smartphone and tablet users said they mostly initiated ads on their mobile devices by mistake.

Data sourced from Vibrant Media; additional content by Warc staff