The iPad provides a much richer experience and real-estate than the standard mobile phone or even the iPhone. New iPad advertising formats, dubbed iPadvertising, might start to bear fruit not only for mobile advertising, but the advertising industry in general. 

Will mobile advertising finally grow up and be taken seriously with the emergence of the tablet?

My view is that advertising presented on the iPad will finally allow brands and agencies to truly extend the message across all mediums and start to crack the elusive mobile space.

Until the arrival of the iPad, the mobile industry as a whole has been fixated on the possibility of advertising on mobile devices.

I am sure the folks at Google/Admob will argue that with 443bn+ “global impressions served” that business is booming. I beg to differ. When was the last time you saw a great mobile ad on your Nokia, iPhone, Samsung or HTC? Better still did you click it and did it lead to a purchase? No? I thought so.

My personal view is that mobile advertising on non-tablet devices has been a huge disappointment.

For all of these ads served, how is it that we don’t hear more case studies of how mobile advertising has driven sales etc? Many will say that mobile ads are more about “brand awareness”, but I feel that the promise of mobile advertising will not be fully realised in its current form.

The problem with mobile advertising

The problem has been twofold. Firstly, the standard mobile’s screen real estate does not lend itself to anything more than a banner ad, which is a direct replication of the web advertising experience.

The second issue is that advertisers have not taken advantage of the unique benefits of mobile: namely that  it is a personal media device and should be treated as such.

I am not advocating that we move towards highly personalised ads as a solution, but there should be some level of relevance applied to the selection of ads that are served to a mobile device.

This means that we have to move from the reach and frequency model towards relevancy for mobile devices.

The iPad

With the launch of Apple' tablet, finally we have a device with not only a much larger screen, and hence larger real estate, but we also have a device that has been purpose built for rich and engaging content.

I’ve owned an iPad for more than six months now. I was by no means the first to get one, as I’m not an Apple fan boy and I did not stand in line at midnight when they were launched in London.

Instead, I sat back and observed how other people used them for a while to see how I might adapt my media consumption to suit this new format.

From the day I bought mine, one of its main uses has been to read newspapers, which is my one real vice (apart from venti sized Starbucks).

I read as much as I can, not just to stay informed with what is happening in the world, but to also shape and challenge my own opinions on a variety of subjects. The iPad has therefore replaced all newspapers and magazines for me (except Campaign magazine in the UK).

All of the major UK, US and Australian newspapers of interest I receive on the iPad via PressReader.  The FT, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Harvard Business Review and Business Week I all receive digitally, either via dedicated apps or Zinio

What has really piqued my interest as I use the iPad on a daily basis is the new styles of advertising that are finding its way into these dedicated newspaper apps.

Some early iPad advertising is pedestrian at best

Until fairly recently, much of the advertising I have been seeing on my iPad (within both standard applications as well as dedicated newspaper apps) has been uninspiring. I have also blogged about the missed opportunity for iPad advertising in the last few months.

You see, I love looking at beautiful ads, and ones that make me think. If you just replicate the newspaper or online experience on a rich media device such as an iPad, then why bother.

I recently re-downloaded the Telegraph iPad app to see if the advertising had moved on since the launch edition.

Sadly, I was met with the SAME Audi ad for each ad impression. Not only was there no interaction possible in the ad, it was the same copy and design as the full screen print ads – what another missed opportunity.  Even re impossible to read fine print was mirrored in the ad (shown below, click to enlarge).

As many of you know, I am not a huge fan of web advertising that is just “stuck on” a mobile device. For me, for advertising to be truly successful and accepted on a mobile or portable device, it must conform the 3 Ps of mobile and social advertising namely:

Privacy, Preference and Permission

This is more important on a mobile phone than a tablet such as an iPad or Motorola Xoom.

What I have noticed with some of these innovative iPad ads is that they really do invite you to interact and play with them. One that caught my eye was for Ford, and by wiping the ad with your finger in much the way you wipe steam from the shower glass, the ad came alive and showed you the inside of the car.

I’m not one that usually reads ads, in fact I have become immune to most of them and often read-around them. However the Ford ad really invited me to play with it, and I found myself spending a good minute interacting with the ad on my iPad, something I would not normally do.

There are a few reasons why the tablet is a format that lends itself to relevant and engaging ads. First of all, my iPad is not my main device. I use it to consume media but my trusty (small screen) Nokia E72 is what I use on a daily basis for calls, texts and tweets on the go.

Because the predominant iPad utility is to consume media on a larger screen, I am more tolerant of advertising. Because the ads contain an element of interactivity, they are more appealing, and hence the “dwell time” (the time spent lingering on the ad) is much longer.

What are the targeting opportunities for iPad advertising?

I will go out on a limb here and say that iPad owners are more likely to accept iPadvertising than standard mobile advertising that exists today in iPhones and other devices.

I have no market research to back up this hypothesis, but given my own reaction to this richer iPad advertising experience, I would say that this may be the case.

Targeting for the ads can be based on a number of different levels.

Firstly, the type of device (iPad vs Galaxy Tab vs Motorola Xoom) will provide some level of demographic targeting as I am sure that the type of person that buys an iPad is somewhat different to a Galaxy Tab user and this choice will help to define some of their personality and help with media planning and targeting.

Secondly, the type of publication will also help with targeting, because a Wired iPad reader is likely to be slightly different to say a Stuff or T3 iPad reader.

Finally, I hope that advertisers and publishers become confident enough to actually ask subscribers a little more about their preferences during signup than age and email address so that the advertising can be tweaked even further.

Toyota runs first iPad campaign for Auris Hybrid

While researching for this post, I noticed that Toyota will soon be running a campaign across iPad versions of seven magazines: Autocar, Evo, iGizmo, Project, Stuff, T3 and Wired.

Viewers of the ads will be able to rotate the car through 360 degrees by touching the screen, to reveal all its specifications. It will be very interesting to see the reaction from not only the readers, but also the industry as a whole.

iPad advertising provides a rich canvas for creatives

The final thing that lends itself to the iPad as a credible ad format is that creatives finally have a suitable canvas to extend the brand message and idea beyond the TV spot or press ad onto a tablet device.

I have actually seen the Ford ad mentioned above in a full colour press ad (shown below – click for full screen), and it really does take on a life of its own on the iPad.

Until now, creatives have been limited “click here to find out more” copy on mobile banner ads, hardly something likely to win a Cannes Lion.

Where does this leave iAds from Apple?

I blogged about iAds back in November 2010, and from what I have seen, the iAds will not really offer enough for marketers. The iAd platform requires a £600,000 minimum spend, and has little targeting, and a limited creative palette.

Amazingly, it also follows the banner ad mentality rather than be part of the creative process and the media planning strategy to deliver a truly engaging experience.

iPadvertising has much promise for newspaper apps

With the recent introduction of the Project and The Daily iPad newspaper apps from Richard Branson and Rupert Murdoch respectively, we will start to see iPadvertising come into its own.

My prediction is we will start to see iPadvertising win creative awards into 2011 and beyond on not just the iPad, but a range of tablet devices.

Andrew Grill

Published 16 February, 2011 by Andrew Grill

Andrew Grill is CEO of London Calling and a contributor to Econsultancy.

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Comments (7)

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Ian Wright

Hi Andrew great article and very thought provoking, given growth of iPads and the tablet RRP costs coming down as the market opens up your article is very well timed.

I too have had the same disappointment with The Telgraph Audi iPad ad same old static print method throughout the APP.

The Ford ad is brilliant alongside a number of others on the iPad content channels.

If the creative is interactive, highly engaging and also offers a strong CTA but also a real benefit to the end user - then brilliant!

Add in a cool creative guy with business acumen and then it's a very healthy future for iPad advertising. Great content/creative comes alive on the iPad.

Remember the most wanted gift last Christmas by the youth of America yes the iPad - it's going global at a very fast rate!

over 7 years ago


Jeroen Bouserie

Just wanted to share this nice example of a more innovative ipadvertisement I picked up yesterday

over 7 years ago

Ashley Friedlein

Ashley Friedlein, Founder, Econsultancy & President, Centaur Marketing at EconsultancyStaff

Nice article Andrew. The only thought I'd throw in is that I'm not convinced the iPad is a 'mobile device' and so iPadvertising isn't 'mobile advertising'.

Of course, it risks becoming a debate about semantics, but I think the key question/challenge around what I think of us 'mobile advertising' is can advertising work on that little-ish thing that I carry around everywhere with me in my pocket that I mostly use for personal communications and, increasingly, information retrieval (aka a 'smartphone')?

The above is *not* an iPad. At least not yet for almost everyone. The research I've seen suggests the iPad pretty much stays at home (or work as a work tool). So whilst it is portable around the home I don't think of it is a 'mobile device' like a smartphone.

So whilst iPadvertising might work well for tablet devices I fear this provides no real hope/evidence of success for what I think of as 'mobile advertising'.

over 7 years ago

Andrew Grill

Andrew Grill, Social Business Keynote Presenter at London Calling

Ashley, you undid my cunning plan to lump iPadvertising with mobile advertising. I actually totally agree with you! The iPad is a fantastic new channel to extend the great digital and TV work undertaken already and it is perhaps insulting to compare it with mobile advertising.

We perhaps need another category for these tablet or "lean-back" devices because I think we will start to see some award winning creative on them soon (and a lot it is probably at this stage now), while at the same time straight "mobile handset advertising" is in my opinion unlikely to reach the same level of creativity for all the reasons I outlined in the article.

Thanks for the insightful comment.

over 7 years ago



I've been waiting for a feature like this! Yesterday while I was listening to a nostalgic tune from high school I thought to myself, "I wish I could share this with my HS friends on my FB page", and now I can.

Thanks for the update! Looking for more integration in the future.

over 7 years ago


Jennie Wright

Great article Andrew. I love the concept of brands and agencies grasping the functionality that these new media platforms offer and letting their creative juices flow, however, it might be some time before we see some really clever stuff, as the majority of the big players are still just dipping their toes.

For me, the iphone will always be the saviour of the mobile market - up until that time, no one took ownership of consumer education. There have been a lot of services available on mobile devices, such as getting your daily news, for many years, however a lack of understanding of data charges, coupled with unintuitive interfaces have prevented mass take-up in the market. The networks owned the consumer (which they closely guarded) but took few steps to educate them, whilst the brands were facing an uphill battle not only overcoming the tricky message of detailing where to find their services, (often being given little column space for mobile) but then had to overcome the hurdle that many users didn’t even know how to access wap services, (for example).

For me it’s the slick, intuative UI’s and availability of apps on Mac’s that have, and will continue to shape consumer behaviour and consequentially, the mobile device marketplace.

over 7 years ago

Andrew Grill

Andrew Grill, Social Business Keynote Presenter at London Calling

Jennie, thanks for the comment.

I'm trying a lot of the dedicated newspaper and magazine apps on the iPad and starting to see the embedded ads jump up a notch from something that just replicates the newspaper ad to a towards an experience that starts to stretch things in terms of the level of creativity and interactivity involved.

The iPad especially due to the larger screen size over the iPhone will I think be the creative's canvas of choice for a while. The iPhone real estate is really just too small to be really effective in the same way as the iPad in my view.

Have a read of another post on my blog at that argues mobile advertising will be successful on the 2nd screen and not the main screen (here iPad vs iPhone).

Thanks again for the comment and for taking the time to read the post.

over 7 years ago

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