Time to take tablets seriously

iPads and iPhones
iPads and iPhones

Tablets have not yet truly entered the mainstream, but they will. Alongside the web and mobile, the devices put a world of opportunity at marketers' fingertips.

People have been talking about 'the year of mobile' for as long as I can remember, somehow expecting that there would be a breakout 12 months for a communications platform that will never stop growing. Ever since Gordon Gekko had that conversation with Bud Fox in the movie Wall Street, while holding a brick masquerading as a mobile phone, everybody knew that mobile would be huge.

BlackBerry is in the dumps, and who knows what Microsoft's Steve Ballmer is up to with Nokia, Windows 8 and Surface. In the meantime, though, there is a growing rivalry and an incredible amount of business being done on both the iOS and Android platforms. There is a virtual army of Android devices from manufacturers worldwide and the latest iPhone shatters its predecessor's sales records after each launch.

A glimpse of what's to come

Then there is the iPad. Steve Jobs' last gift to mankind was to teach us all how to swipe, and boy have we learned how. If you look at global sales of the iPhone and iPad over their first eight quarters in the market, cumulative iPad sales are more than triple those of the iPhone. In other words, the tablet market – which is still dominated by the iPad – could be like nothing we've ever seen before.

In addition to benefiting from Apple's existing iTunes ecosystem, the iPad's usability is second-to-none, and its form-factor and portability lends itself to the increasingly mobile world in which we live.

How can marketers take advantage of this incredible opportunity?

Nail the design

If you're developing content, apps or experiences for the iPad, understand that expectations are high. At least for now, it is a premium product and users expect to be impressed. Take the time to do it right, and spend time on the details. Jobs did, and that worked out pretty well for Apple.

Think small

People still use desktop computers and mobile devices more than their tablets. Tablet-based consumption is growing, but has not yet entered the mainstream – though it certainly will. Keep that in mind when developing products with the tablet. If you get too close to the mainstream, you might not get the traction that you're looking for.

Use data

Web, mobile and tablet-based computing exhibit different consumption patterns that should influence what you do, on what platform, and when. Data from comScore suggests peak times for tablet use are early in the morning and especially late in the evening. More interesting still, use in the evening appears to coincide with that of other media, most notably TV. Taking such data into account and integrating it into your marketing plans will result in higher levels of engagement over time.

Be creative

Tablets open up a new realm of creativity fostered by gestural navigation and screen size that is intimate, yet shareable. Don't just do what everyone else is doing. If you are going to invest time and resources into this platform, do something unique that people will want to share.


IN ACTION

From media to museums to the golf course, smart marketers are experimenting with the iPad and creating unique experiences.

Niche content, creatively delivered

PGA Tour app

The Official PGA Tour app combines live, in-depth tournament and player data with news, photos and video in an exceptional experience. The tablet app is arguably better than the Tour's site, with superior design and usability to that of the mobile app.

 

Know your target

Quartz is a 'mobile-first' and digital-only news publication from The Atlantic Media Company. Editor-in-chief Kevin Delaney says it is 'a new kind of business news offering that is global, digitally native, and designed for ... mobile and tablet'.

 

An eye on design

Design Museum Collection app

The Design Museum Collection App is a free download that presents 59 remarkable objects via film, audio, text and photos. The app, developed by twentysix, explores several key moments in design history.

 

George Nimeh, aka @iboy, is a digital consultant

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer