Though the device has only recently released for a few months, the iPad can offer several new marketing opportunities for brands. Few would bet against Apple repeating the success of the iPod and iPhone, and selling the iPad in massive numbers.
With this in mind, brands need to consider how they will appeal to iPad users through their marketing strategies.
Here are a few ways marketers can make the most of the iPad…
Branded apps have been popular on the iPhone, and there are a number of success stories, in terms of downloads and reach.
Audi’s A4 Driving Challenge app achieved the impressive figure of 3.5m downloads, while Barclaycard’s Waterslide app did even better with over 10m downloads.
Games are one way to appeal to iPhone and iPad users, but some brands have appealed to mobile users through more useful and practical apps. The Bank of America’s iPhone app achieved 3m downloads, while NatWest and others have released apps in the UK.
There is no reason why brands can’t appeal to iPad users in the same way, and though there a relatively few branded iPhone apps available at the moment, Nike, Kraft, and retailers like Gap have already taken the plunge.
The key here is to make it appealing and useful to users. A branded game may appeal to more users but it will not necessarily deliver the engagement and frequency of use of an app that is more useful.
Whether delivered via the internet, or through apps, the iPad is well suited to display advertising. This may be the biggest opportunity for marketers targeting the iPad, as advertisers can create attractive and compelling ads, while the device allows users to quickly interact with ads.
Advertisers can recreate magazine-style full-page ads with quality photography, but can also grab users’ attention with animation, video, and other interactive features.
For example, this Pepsi ad in the Wired app contains video:
Like the iPhone, users can access their emails quickly and easily once they have set their Gmail or other email accounts up on the device.
Unlike when users access email via laptops and PCs, there may well be fewer distractions for iPad users, since it isn’t primarily a work machine, while users can only view one application at a time.
Also, email is easy to view and read on the iPad’s interface, so it offers an excellent experience for the user, who is likely to spend more time reading emails as a result.
Email marketers need to think about how they will tailor emails for iPad users. Since it is a touch screen device, placement and size of links and call to action buttons need to be large enough for users to select.
The lack of Flash on the iPad means that marketers will need to ensure that any landing pages are free from Flash and optimised for the device.
The iPad has been seen as a potential saviour by publishers eager to find new ways to monetise their content, and a number have already launched apps for the device.
Some of the news and magazine apps I have seen so far on the iPad are impressive, Wired’s app being an excellent example, and when done well, publishers’ apps can offer the best of both worlds; a mixture of a print style format which users can easily scroll through, and the interactivity of the web.
This provides opportunities for advertisers too, as there is the potential for advertisers to be more creative with ads on iPad apps, and users can quickly be sent to a landing page to complete a purchase or registration.
So far, the stats are promising for marketers. According to mobile ad exchange network operator Mobclix, iPad apps have a five times higher ECPM than iPhone apps, while a textPlus report found that ad interactions on iPads are about six times longer than comparable desktop interactions.
People will be using search engines on the iPad, just as they do on the web in general, so the same opportunities exists for marketers who can get their brand to the top of natural listings or appeal to users through paid search.
Since many iPad owners will be using the device on the move, there are opportunities to deliver highly relevant results and appeal to users through geo-targeting.
Again, Apple’s ban on Flash means that videos within search results, as well as landing pages, need to be optimised for the iPad.
Whether on the YouTube app, through the Safari browser, and via apps, marketers can target iPad users through video advertising.
The large high-resolution screen on the iPad is well suited to viewing videos, and videos can easily be embedded into ads within apps.
The lean back nature of the device means that customers may be more receptive to viewing video. Indeed, stats from textPlus suggest this, with 67% of iPad users complete video ads compared to 53% of desktop video viewers.