Tablet Ads Dos and Don’ts

Jared Hand is CRO for touch publishing and advertising platform Onswipe.

The iPad and other tablets are disrupting the media and advertising industries at a breakneck rate, leaving publishers and advertisers to grapple with the best ways to leverage the new medium.

With touch-screen functionality, the portability and location-aware characteristics of
mobile, and the browsing and content consumption similarities to desktop, the tablet
has created a massive opportunity for advertisers and publishers to rethink the digital ad
experience from the ground up. People expect a different experience when consuming
content on their tablet, which gives marketers and advertisers the chance to connect
with readers and users in unique and more meaningful ways than currently exist online.

Take a close look at your media plan. Does it lean heavily on native app advertising? If so, reevaluate and make adjustments so it does not ignore the tablet browser experience. Your content needs to be easily discoverable and accessible to the tablet user.

The current hot topic for tablets is native apps versus the browser. Apps have received a lot of attention, with their number growing into the hundreds of thousands. But by investing heavily in just apps, the marketing and media industries are missing out on many opportunities that neglect their biggest audience: everyday website traffic. The Web continues to drive the majority of traffic for most publishers’ properties — a result from organic search results, links from social media and other forms of referral traffic. Considering that checking email, reading news, engaging in social media and browsing the Web are top activities on tablets, it stands to reason that the browser will continue to support the lion’s share of traffic.

Just as important, seek out optimized environments and clear the clutter. In the desktop world, it’s become common for websites to include as many ads as possible on one page. The benefits for marketers virtually disappear as click-through rates and engagement become nonexistent. A significantly better model is emerging on the tablet where the number of advertisers per page can be cut significantly and the fold is eliminated altogether. In the ideal tablet scenario, one advertiser owns one screen at a time, has more premium space to work with and sees dramatically improved results relative to the desktop. Because of this, the value placed on impressions on a tablet is significantly greater. Additionally, larger ad formats available on the tablet are more conducive to storytelling while respecting the user experience.

To achieve success with the new digital opportunity the tablet presents, marketers need
to also build experiences that are optimized specifically for the tablet’s touch-screen capabilities. This means more than just resizing and reformatting what’s already been
created. Instead, marketers must recognize that the touch-enabled user experience —
coupled with the casual nature of usage — leads to consumers that are in different mindsets than they are when engaging with other devices.

While the rapid evolution of the device landscape is profoundly impacting user experience, there are two key digital media forces at play that are also changing the way marketers engage audiences. These include a push toward larger ad formats and the proliferation of native ads that strive to integrate branded content into the user experience in ways that are unique and organic to the specific site or platform.

You don’t have to choose between one or the other. Instead, think about integrating each of these tactics to offer different types of value to the consumer. Consider larger ad formats that aim to entertain and create impactful storytelling. Consumers have zero tolerance for in-your face ads that are disruptive to the content on the site. If you’re buying meaningful space, do not squander away the opportunity with creative that doesn’t deserve the consumer’s attention. Keep in mind the tablet’s form factor, unique capabilities and the mindset of the user to develop creative that is deeply entertaining, informative and relevant.

Native ads are not a new concept — think product placement in TV — but they can be an
incredibly effective way to form a deep relationship with your target consumer. However,
it is not always the right approach, and you shouldn’t try to force it. Even though a particular website may be a good place to reach your target audience, it might not be
the right fit for your content.

Ultimately, as with all media, the effective tablet advertising program should incorporate
a balance of deeply integrated native solutions coupled with content that offers your brand the opportunity to tell a compelling story.

Image via Shutterstock