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Guest Column: Tablets deliver own unique user experience

14-December-2012
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Guest Column: Tablets deliver own unique user experience

It’s the hottest buzzword in business, consumer tech and communications – mobility. Devices and services that allow us to access information and keep in touch with business partners, friends and colleagues on the go. Laptops, tablets and smartphone devices are often being classified under this ‘mobile’ heading, but what can we really classify them under the category of ‘mobile devices’?

Appsnack believes that whilst considered ‘mobile’, the tablet platform delivers its own unique user experience which requires a unique and tailored approach when looking at the tablet as a potential space for digital marketing activity. The technology works from the same foundations (same device manufacturers, operating systems and applications) as mobile, but the way users have taken to the device has demonstrated that tablet usage is truly different and a ‘half-way house’ between desk (laptop) and on-the-move (mobile).

Consider the spaces in which you see tablets being used – long-form video on the plane, as a notebook in a meeting, or as a second screen at home on the sofa. Media consumption on tablet differs from its mobile cousins (the smartphone and laptop), meaning advertisers (and the industry) need to ensure they think of tablet not as part of mobile, but as a device all of its own that needs strategy, planning and execution to suit.

The unique full-screen creative capabilities of tablet advertising can come to life in a number of ways. For a fashion brand this might be the ability to launch a full catalogue from a tablet-based ad unit, viewed whilst a user sits on the couch watching TV. Or for an automotive brand, the opportunity to view branded content and customise car features on virtual models from the tablet ad as the user waits in the flight lounge for a return flight home. For an office supplies or department store, it may be the ability to target student users with in-ad shopping functionality, where they buy stationary and sporting gear for all their back-to-school needs. Tablet advertising is employing similar touch-screen, gaming features and location-based strategies to mobile in its ad campaign executions. The tactile, bigger screen experience of a tablet is delivering vastly different possibilities for brands to reach and engage a growing, tablet-based target audience in unique ways.

According to estimates by eMarketer, time spent using mobile devices (smartphone and tablet) for activities such as Internet and app use, gaming, music and others has more than doubled in the past two years amongst US consumers. In India, improvements in user experience, the rise of 3G penetration and data access, enhanced reach and the changing lifestyles of consumers will set the scene for major growth and availability of tablet technology within the country. IS Advisors’ ‘Tablet Industry in India’ report predicts that “tablet shipments are expected to rise sharply from 3 million units in 2011 to 23.6 million units in 2017”, illustrating the significance of the device not just in developed markets, but also in important emerging markets like India and beyond.

This time spent using mobile and tablet devices is changing media consumption habits and as a result, digital strategies are starting to evolve to effectively target this increasingly fragmented audience.

International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts that mobile data consumption is changing the way ad dollars are spent now, and up to 2016. IDC predicts digital industry spend (valued at $2.1 billion in 2011) will grow into a whopping $14.8 billion industry in just a few short years in the lead-up to 2016. The biggest changes we’ll see will be the spread across platforms – while mobile phones will still dominate, tablets and eReaders’ ad platforms will grow and start to hold a market-share similar to that of their mobile/ smartphone counterparts.

With a growing user-base, differing media consumption scenarios and new creative possibilities, the distinctly different tablet category is emerging as a new frontier for digital marketers to better understand and tackle the digital landscape. Marketers that consider the unique ways audiences engage with the device and the types of media they like to consume are those that will succeed in this new multi-platform media frontier.

The author is the Director of Mobile Technology, Appsnack, an Exponential division.
 

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