The iPad – Change is a comin'

by Ellie Johnson on April 13, 2010

in Media,Mobile

The Apple iPad will make some major waves in digital advertising and I’m just trying to get my head around it.

Disclaimer: I am not a Mac user. I don’t own an iPhone.  I don’t own an iPad.

I am not anti Apple by any means, I just haven’t had a reason to switch to a Mac.  Also, I think I’m a BlackBerry lifer (xoxox!) and I would never subscribe to AT&T.  The iPad however, is interesting to me because if it and other tablet devices that follow are snatched up by the masses – the way ads and content will play together and how marketers track that engagement – will change the industry I am a huge fan of, a great deal.  And that’s why I love digital advertising’s evolution!

Online, ads and content compete for the end user’s attention and it’s been this way forever.  The way the user interacts with content on the iPad will change that when advertisers adapt their message to this device; ads will be more useful (if they are done correctly) and will seem to blend and blur lines between ads and content.  I liked what I read about Yahoo’s solutions for ads on the tablet devices.  And marketers will have to be sensitive to how the user perceives the ad’s value; if users pay to download premium content to their device -  they will likely be less willing to accept ads in the content.  But that’s marketing, right? Advertisers and content providers will figure out the right “discounted” price point that the user is willing to pay for ad supported content.  (I think I just heard the print industry perk up, did you?)

Another change will impact ad serving and how consumer behavior is tracked.  If I understand this correctly, users will be interacting with content and messages and taking all sorts of consumer-related actions on the iPad within content or apps that they have downloaded… and much of that interactivity will be cached?  So instead of monitoring clicks and conversions in real time consistently like we do with search and display, I’m assuming marketers who advertise on this new device can expect to see small dumps of data in non-specific intervals, correct?  I’m interested in getting this clarified if anyone knows the answer.

From what I have read, the cutting edge advertising opportunities will be in the apps that the user downloads.  Apps will quickly become the mobile channel’s publishers – agencies like ours will want to know which applications have the most active audiences and which offer the best melding between advertiser and application for the user.  (I think I just heard the mobile ads salespeople perk up! Yes! It may finally be your year mobile!)  The folks at iSocket brainstormed some really intriguing ideas for advertising on the iPad – I like their thoughts about how marketers may begin to target those of us who watch TV with a device or laptop in front of us with specific cross-platform calls to action (check out what the book Alice in Wonderland looks like on the iPad!! Beautiful!) and it would be outstanding to ride Caltrain to Palo Alto and get an ad for the Peet’s Coffee on University Ave….

Oh snap! I may have just found my reason to switch to a Mac and it sounds like I talked myself into an iPad!

We’ll see – I’m not sold on the device yet – but I’m a fan of the movement and I like where this is headed.

Love to know what you think, too!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

David Dekker david dekker April 13, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Good article and I like where things are headed with this device as well, but it’s not practical for me to have one anytime soon. Anyone that likes classic standup arcade games should check this out though. Check out and search for the iCade – iPad Arcade Cabinet.


Ryan Boyles April 13, 2010 at 3:33 pm

I think we have a very long time to go before the iPad reaches any sort of mass market adoption on the scale of the cell phone itself. At it’s high price point and exclusive / limited data plan business model, adoption for anyone outside of the elite and media will be very slow. If I can’t afford one on my salary, then the reach in the lower middle class and education / public sectors could be very low. Non-essential luxury devices that do not replace the essentials are not going to create a revolution by default. Remember how UMPCs were going to change mobile computing forever? Yeah, neither does anyone else and that was only 4 years ago. Cell phones and SMS are the new media channel of the majority of world and especially in non-US markets. See this recent report on Micro-payments and SMS business models via Cellphone in the New York Times.


Brian McDonald April 13, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Great points here. As our devices allow us to determine what specific media we consume advertisers will be challenged even more to reach target audience.


Michael Hubbard Michael Hubbard April 14, 2010 at 11:27 am

I agree with Ryan – it might be a slow adapter as wifi is not open in all cities yet, and 3G is anything but the speed of the internet… That being said, I see engagements being tracked more and more kind of like you would on a Rich Media ad. Ad servers and reporting will need to come up with some “magic formulas” for engagement in the conversion cycle, but I don’t see that as being a far stretch. Good article though – thanks Ellie!


Brook Corwin April 19, 2010 at 1:24 pm

These are great questions to be thinking about. Even if the iPad doesn’t catch on with the masses, mobile content is still going to be the wave of the future, and with that comes apps that deliver information based on location. A well-placed “advertisement” on Foursquare or Gowalla won’t be perceived as such since it’s offering useful discounts and info on establishments just down the street.

As for the iPad itself, I got a chance to try one last weekend and was impressed. But it’s hard to see it as a legitimate replacement for laptops.


Lexie Wilkinson July 9, 2010 at 11:55 am

Mobile advertising would continue to grow as more and more mobile phone users get hooked on texting and mobile browsing.”,`


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