Marketing looks deeper into the impact of tablets, its popularity in Australia and how marketers should take advantage of this new platform for creative marketing.

So you think you have finally understood social media and mobile phones, and can start planning media strategies around these new platforms. You’re breathing a huge sigh of relief, and glad you’re once again up to speed with new technology.

But wait… there is yet another new player in town!

With 750,000 tablets in Australia this month and a forecasted 5 million units by 2015, the tablet is going to be a new platform that marketers must quickly familiarise themselves with. With the rate of adoption rising twice as quickly as smartphones, broadband and other technologies that have preceded it, the Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook 2011-2015 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers has flagged the tablet as the next big thing in the local technology space, with 24% of Australian households having at least one tablet by end of 2011.

An American study by Forrester Research and Bizrate Insights has also found that tablet owners contribute 20% of all mcommerce transactions, and that 60% of US tablet users have made a purchase through their device.

Zac Jacobs, general manager of digital agency TigerSpike notes that there are at least twenty android tablet brands available in the Australian market, and is anticipating the launch and penetration of “sub $100 Android tablets” in the market, especially with “telcos already giving them away with a bundle subscription”.

“What surprises me,” says Jacobs “is that the market has not reacted to this [uptake of Android tablets] yet, with very few brands opting to produce Android apps”.

It is also interesting to note that the tablet user isn’t just your typical tech-savvy Gen-Y user. In fact, Affinity, a US-based media research company found that Baby Boomers aged 47 to 66 were 29% more likely to own a tablet device than the average person.

In Australia, Jacobs says that Australians, particularly baby boomers and older who have never had a computer or an internet-capable device are buying iPads as their primary internet device.

“In Australia, there is so much demand that there is still a four week wait for an iPad – Apple cannot keep up with the demand”.

Brands that have already jumped on the tablet advertising bandwagon include The Australian, Herald Sun, SBS, 7News and Masterchef, where iPad dedicated apps have been created with advertising space, Advertising such as Google Adwords are also available, and Jacobs advises that it is possible to target ads to appear only in front of iPad users. “The advertiser can tailor the message to a customer with the unique mindset of a tablet user”,

Another new mode of advertising on tablets is the sponsorship model, according to Jacobs, where apps are being sponsored by brands and made freely available to users.

Smirnoff Vodka recently sponsored 25 TimeOut city guides while Telstra sponsors The Age’s iPad app.

Jacobs also advises that iPad advertising is unique due new technologies and the way it is used.

“Google has reported the tablet usage is predominantly in the evening, at home. Tablet users are therefore highly likely to be watching TV with the iPad on their laps or within reach. This presents a unique opportunity to advertisers who already use TV as a branding and marketing channel”,

With one in 5 emails opened on a mobile device, Jacobs feels that brands should ensure their emails must not only be accessibly on a tablet, but that brands should “take advantage and optimise their email communications to the unique design opportunities presented on the tablet”,

Jacobs also warns that marketing done through an iPad should be contextual and relevant.

“Tablet users are not mobile users. They are predominantly engaging with the device at home, in the evening… it is a relaxing and leisurely experience rather than being in their pockets and always with them”.

“Think about how your customers use their home and leisure time and how you would like to engage with them during that time. The iPad allows you to pick up a user’s locations so even when they’re home, you can customise the content and experience based on the state or suburb they live in and what’s nearby”.

Finally, Jacobs advises that tablet users expect to go to a website that is optimised for the tablet and will be not impressed with simply a cut-down version of a full site. Flash, of course, is another no-no for websites that are to be browsed on an iPad.

“It is definitely worth creating advertising materials specifically for the tablet to maximise engagement,” says Jacobs.



Belle Kwan
BY Belle Kwan ON 2 August 2011
Assistant editor, Marketing magazine &
A marketer's dream who believes everything she sees on TV.
Advertising is not evil, it is an artform and a science.