Since the release of the iPad and subsequent Google Android “tablets,” publishers have scrambled to figure out how to not only create mobile-worthy content but also monetize it by integrating advertising into these buzz-worthy platforms. All the while, advertisers are chomping at the bit to create and execute their campaigns across the gamut of outlets in order to maximize their reach among highly-desirable demographics.
Late last year, UM Global and Time Inc. conducted a study of iPad satisfaction, usage and response to advertising, and the results were promising for content producers and advertisers alike. The study found that more than 9 out of 10 iPad owners who read magazines were at least somewhat likely to subscribe to those publications on the device, and nearly as many would recommend doing so to their friends. The study also found that magazine readers’ response to advertising was also very positive; bright visuals, striking photos and interactive features were what most enticed the reader to engage with ads.
This is all great news, but with no best practices to date, pricing and implementation of ads is somewhat uncharted territory to be carefully navigated.
Many publishers have taken a “roll-out” approach to advertising in iPad editions. In the first few issues there are no ads; the focus is on the content, the dramatic layouts and a layered Internet experience. Gradually, they can integrate simple sponsor sections with videos or custom interactive tools.
Simultaneously, iPad editions are taking a some-what similar approach to custom publications with regard to advertising. As opposed to a print publication, in which advertisers are represented in droves, there are a limited number of advertisers for most apps. This allows advertisers to showcase the richness and depth of their brands while offering a more personal, less intrusive, experience with the brand.
What it really comes down to, however, is dollars — on both the cost and benefit side! Consider the expense associated with engineering your content for iPad or tablet delivery. And balance that against the potential revenue benefit provided by reaching the growing audience of sophisticated, tech-savvy (and often more affluent) consumers who engage via mobile platforms.
Experimentation with fixed-price rate models, cost-per-click rate structures, and even cost-per-action strategies is still going on. But the overall selling point is this: the consumer base is there and, unlike many traditional publishing platforms, it’s growing!
With 1 in 5 Americans currently owning or planning to purchase a tablet in the next few years, the trend is clear: this platform as a content-delivery and emerging media channel will only continue to grow in big numbers. And while it is predicted that there will be more advertising standards by the end of the year, advertisers and publishers alike must weed through the uncharted territory of this brave new world and embrace this as a period of innovation, experimentation and, for those who are successful, monetization.