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Does prime time beckon for tablet advertising?

by Doug Drinkwater

April 25 2013

Mojiva's study shows that readers are increasingly responding to interactive tablet ads
Mojiva's study shows that readers are increasingly responding to interactive tablet ads

Two new reports suggest that advertisers are just starting to realize the full potential of tablet advertising.

Just one year ago, tablet advertising was niche. The first few ad agencies had started experimenting with interactive HTML5 ads, but these were at the cutting edge, and by no means the norm. Even research studies saw tablet advertising lumped in with smartphones as part of ‘mobile advertising’. 

Those times appear to be changing, however, judging by two recent research reports.

Ad network Mojiva studied about 1,000 U.S. consumers to get a feel for how they engage with ads on their tablet devices and said that the encouraging results proved advertisers were doing the right thing by pulling other forms of advertising around the tablet.

One of the major findings into general tablet usage was that 84% of tablet users now feel comfortable using their devices for PC tasks, something analyst Ben Bajarin touched upon towards the end of last year. On discovering this trend, Mojiva CEO David Gwozdz said that the sheer number of tablets replacing PCs – at least in certain scenarios – has forced advertisers to look twice at tablets like the iPad.

“Tablet device growth and time spent with these devices have been on a rapid incline worldwide for several quarters,” said Gwozdz, who helped Mojiva launched its first tablet-only ad network in October last year.

“It was only a matter of time before the consumer base reached a critical mass point, where they are now relying on tablets to perform necessary utility functions previously conducted on their desktop/laptop computers, in addition to enjoying the amazing entertainment qualities afforded by these lightweight, interactive devices.”

“As a result, tablet advertising is fast moving away from being perceived as an optional medium, and instead proving to be a valuable tool in delivering ROI and revenue to brand advertisers.”

However, despite tablets being a relatively new medium for advertising, it appears that tablet owners are still sucked in by more traditional ad formats. Mojiva’s study found that 56% are still likely to click on a tablet banner ad.

That said, tablet owners are fussier when it comes to what kind of tablet ad content they click on, with one in three tempted by an ad promoting discounts (33%), an ad showing rich media/interactive content or video (32%), or with some link to Facebook or Twitter (31%). Another 30% were enticed to click on an ad which simply detailed a new product.

Mojiva, which said earlier this year that tablet advertising had grown 600% year-on-year, also detailed that some verticals are having a better time with tablet ads.

Food/restaurant ads, for example, managed to attract 'clicks' from 49% of the survey respondents, with apparel (37%), leisure activities (31%) and beauty (29%) following behind slightly.

The most effective tablet ads may surprise you

Mojiva's findings followed just days after another comprehensive study had looked into which different ad formats resonate most with tablet users.

The study, a global research project undertaken by The Pool but commissioned by brand giants like Coca Cola, General Motors and Yahoo! and others, tested 37 tablet ad formats on 20 million U.S. consumers over 14 months. The conclusion? Three different ad formats in particular are most effective on tablets.

The winners were the “banner to full page” ad, a format still used heavily for online media, the “pre-roll with overlay” (allowing videos and games to be expanded from the ad itself) and Rich Media Interstitial, which was defined by The Pool as the “print ad of the tablet age”.

[For some context, Hearst Magazines has previously reported that sponsorship, video, expandable banners and “click to purchase” as the most popular tablet ad formats, although Mediacom intriguingly found video and “overly interactive” ads to have a negative impact in some cases.]

Announcing the results from the study (which is available as an independent app on iPad and Android devices), The Pool founder Tracey Scheppach said tablets, and Apple’s iPad in particular, represented a “gift” to advertisers.

“We knew we needed to work with marketers and publishers to learn about the advertising potential of this game-changing device. The amount of research we conducted is unprecedented; we reached one in three tablet users, so we feel quite confident that the learnings we uncovered are reflective of consumers’ wants and needs with regards to their tablet advertising.

"Above all, we learned Steve Jobs gave marketers a gift and now is the time to ignite it in the marketplace,” she said.

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