Are Tablets Considered Mobile Devices?

Mobile marketing will continue to rise in importance.  But what devices are considered “mobile?”  For example, are tablets considered mobile?

Some marketers define two channels of marketing.   Desktops and laptops are in one category and all other devices are in the other.

Perhaps that’s where the problem lies. Because when you think about it, you shouldn’t be categorizing based on device. The logical approach would be to think about the person and the environment they’re in, and how you they are using your site in that environment.

Desktop computers and laptops, for example, are on a desk, on your couch or in your office.  You aren't as distracted when you using them because you tend to stay in one place while you're using them.

Smartphones on the other hand, are small enough to fiddle with as you move about, crossing the street, walking around, checking your emails, listening to music, replying to texts, browsing online, social media, etc.  It's a  highly distracted environment.

So where does the tablet fit in the grand scheme of things? Do you chat on your tablet as you cross the street? Browse online while you’re strolling through the mall?


While it does go with you as you move about, generally, people consume content on tablets the way they would content on laptops and desktops.

So would we create content for tablets as we would for mobile phones?

Fact is, tablets are more similar to desktops—they don't need to have a super simplified design (like mobile phones do) because the distraction element isn't anywhere near as high with tablets.  With a few exceptions to the rule, here are some of the facts why we should all start rethinking our approach to tablets…

1. Staying Indoors

Tablets have been known to go with you on long-haul trips and holidays, but in general, tablet activity will take place in the comfort of your bed, couch, office, even kitchen.

What does this mean? It means instead of simplifying your pages for quick consumption, you have more opportunity to offer pages that provide a richer media experience.

2. Sharing is Caring

While mobile phones are intended to be consumed solely by the owner of the device, tablets are likely to be shared between multiple users.

3. WiFi Ready

Most tablets are connected via WiFi, not through mobile data. Basically, a lot of tablet users don’t really see the need to have a cellular-activated device apart from their phones. And to connect via WiFi means tablet content will be consumed while users are in one place—a café, at home, at a restaurant…making its user’s habits very different from mobile.  This means video consumption!

4. Exceptions to the Rule

Remember the rule to K.I.S.S…keep it simple, stupid? While that holds true, for mobiles especially, oversimplification might lead to more harm than good when it comes to tablets.

Oversimplifying can lead to you taking too much away from the user experience. What will work for a smartphone may not work for a tablet.


In Conclusion…

Between tablets, phablets, mini-tablets, convertible tablets are blurring the lines between what is truly mobile and non-mobile.

But while the device is important, as a marketer, you can’t forget about the person using the device–where are they using it, how are they using it.

Creating content for devices that are mobile means taking into consideration that they are actually moving while consuming content. That means not giving them a 45 minute video to watch or an email that shows a wall of text. You are talking to someone who is distracted, in a distracting environment, and you’re trying to do it on a 4 to 6 inch screen.

So when it comes to tablets, where it's more likely content can be delivered while they are in a single place (and where you have their attention for more than a few seconds), you can focus on delivering a marketing message that is more in-depth, with more focus on the user experience.

What do you think? Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts…

And if you found this article useful, feel free to share it with others!

– Mercer

About The Author


Chris Mercer, who typically goes by "Mercer", has a sales and marketing background that stretches over 20 years. He began his online marketing career in 2009 and has become a sought after analytics & conversions expert, helping other top-marketers to improve their own offers and sales funnels. Now decades of real-world experience are brought to you post-by-post as he delivers Seriously Simple Marketing tips that you can use to build your own business!