Why Target Tablets? 5 Reasons Your Ads Should Be Device-Specific

Tablet specific ads for your businessTablets represent a massively growing portion of the mobile device market share, and are slated to overtake smartphones in terms of sales within the next four years. Yet, many marketers haven’t quite jumped on the device-specific marketing bandwagon, and don’t entirely understand why marketing towards tablet users is a whole different ballgame than marketing towards smartphone users. Here are five reasons that your business should target tablets specifically in your next mobile ad campaign.

#1 Tablets Are Taking Over the Market

Although tablets are a relatively recent star of the technology show, they’re picking up in popularity, and they’re doing it fast, especially in comparison to smartphones. According to Pew Internet’s latest device usage statistics, smartphone ownership in the United States rose from 35% to 45% of adults between May 2011 and September 2012 – certainly not a bad amount of growth, but that percentage remained relatively steady between February and September.

In that same period of time, tablet usage shot up from 4% of American adults to 25%, more than double the amount of growth seen by smartphones. And unlike smartphones’ market share, that of tablets doesn’t seem to be evening out. Instead, the curve seems to just be getting steeper.

What does this mean for your ad campaign? Essentially, these stats mean that tablets are quickly rising in popularity, and that designing ads for tablets utilizes this new way of reaching a forward-thinking, tech-savvy population.

#2 Tablet Users Click on More Ads

This past summer, the Interactive Advertising Bureau conducted a study that found that 47% of tablet users clicked on an ad for more information at least once a week, in comparison with only 25% of smartphone users. Better yet – tablet users were more likely than smartphone users (by a margin of 9%) to buy something, download an app, visit an additional site, or fill out a survey when prompted by an ad. And only 23% of tablet users said that they never interact with ads, in comparison to 47% of smartphone users.

There are many reasons why this might be that weren’t discussed in the study. The next three reasons why tablet-specific ads can boost your sales are pretty good guesses, though.

#3 Bigger Screen = Bigger Opportunities

It’s easy to see one of the big benefits of tablet-based ads just by holding a tablet next to a smartphone: the tablet’s screen is simply way bigger. With more space, marketers have the ability to create ads with more vibrant and detailed images that call on video and sound to make their pitch. And with a larger screen size, it’s simply easier for users to navigate and interact with ads.

In a late 2012 article for Business Insider, International Data Corporations VP of Digital Media Karsten Weide was quoted as saying, “there is more traffic on tablets than on smartphones simply because they are easier to use,” largely based on the size of the screen. This observation was bolstered by another point in the article, namely that tablets “support a better browsing experience.”

The larger amount of browser-based traffic on tablets in comparison to smartphones means that ad designers have a little bit more leeway in complexity, especially when it comes to crafting browser-dependant ad campaigns. This can mean a more integrative experience for the target market. Which brings us to…

#4 Tablets Are Part of a Multi-Screen Experience

Due to their size (you can’t just slip a tablet in your pocket like a smartphone, after all), tablets are generally used more in the home or office in conjunction with other technologies. This provides a huge opportunity for integrative marketing techniques, especially with the rise of cloud computing, which allows for the possibility of creating an ad experience that transcends the limitations of a single platform.

Essentially, this could mean creating an ad campaign that links the music a user is listening to on their laptop to an interactive, immersive ad experience on a tablet. Again, the screen size and increased willingness of tablet users to interact with ads comes into play here.

#5 Tablet Users Engage With Long-Form Media

Finally, the nature of tablet and smartphone use differs majorly in another area: what users are doing with their devices. While smartphones tend to be used to check up on social media, shoot off quick emails, and look up tidbits of information on the go, tablet users tend to linger over their devices a little longer.

Because tablet users are more likely to use their device to interact with “long-form” media such videos, eBooks and articles, and online shopping sites, ads feel like less of a pesky intrusion and more of an invitation to browse – as long as the ad is relevant to what they’re already doing.

Some Concrete Tablet-Specific Ad Strategies

It’s clear that optimizing ad campaigns for tablets can have a huge return on your investment, since tablet users are more likely than smartphone users to not only click on your ad, but respond to its call to action, as well. For a clear takeaway, here are a few strategies you might use in your tablet-based ad campaign:

  • You know that tablet users are more likely to click on your ad and take the next step, so why not make it easier for them? Including a clear, easy to click buy now button can give your ad an extra boost.
  • Because tablets are generally used in conjunction with other devices, craft a cross-platform campaign that integrates experiences with a variety of media types.
  • Don’t be afraid to get creative. Tablets offer a whole new realm of advertising options, so instead of sticking to static images or brief pop-ups like you would for a smartphone, take advantage of the possibilities and users’ willingness to interact with ads!

How is your business planning to take advantage of the advertising opportunities that tablets offer?


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Beans graduated from Smith College in 2011 with a BA in History of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, and has worked as a farmer, a cook on a food truck, and an archival assistant. Outside of writing and editing for CEM, Beans enjoys reading voraciously, watching space documentaries, and baking vegan treats. Currently, Beans lives in Salt Lake City, UT.

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