IPad changes digital, mobile game

Marketers are looking to Apple’s iPad as a white knight for enhancing their digital and mobile tactics. The device, which first shipped to eager customers on April 3, will affect the way marketers create display ads, conduct mobile e-commerce and collect data from tech-savvy consumers, industry experts said.

Like the desktop computer and the smartphone before it, the iPad can host most traditional marketing channels, including search, display, mobile, interactive and e-mail. However, its large, interactive touch screen will allow marketers to create a richer media experience than previously possible, experts say.

“The iPad is designed as the ultimate media consumption device and is great for consuming content like newspapers, TV, movies, video and books,” said Michael Chang, CEO of Greystripe, a mobile ad network. “For marketers, this means that now you can put an advertising message onto various interactive platforms across the device’s applications, like e-book readers, digital magazines and apps. The large format will allow for a richer media experience than on other mobile devices.”

Cadillac took advantage of the device’s consumer buzz by teaming up with Cool Hunting, a technology and culture Web site, on a campaign launched for the iPad’s release. The site launched a reading application exclusive to the iPad, which will feature exclusive ad content from Cadillac promoting its 2011 CTS Coupe, set to debut this summer. The iPad’s tech-savvy audience is an important demographic for Cadillac as it produces the sports car, the company said.

“The kind of audience that is likely to be an early adopter of the iPad, and Coolhunting.com’s audience, are the kind of people that are interested in a dynamic luxury sports car like our Coupe, so it makes sense to be here,” said David Caldwell, Cadillac spokesperson.

The sponsorship, which will run for 12 weeks, is the first campaign for Cadillac since it signed Bartle Bogle & Hegarty New York as its agency of record in January.

“We wanted to take the organic nature of the iPad and use it as a giant canvas,” said John Sheldon, director of brand dialogue at Bartle Bogle & Hegarty New York. Largetail, Cool Hunting’s ad network, and design studio Front-Ended also worked on the initiative.

The iPad presents Cadillac with a flashier canvas to show off its creative. When a consumer clicks on the Cadillac ad, he or she can access images and features of the car. Consumers can also click on demo videos or browse a Web site dedicated to the CTS Coupe. Although similar to iPod Touch or iPhone mobile spots, the ads will be shown on a much bigger screen.

“The iPad presents a new space, with an organic nature of navigation, with the pinch zooms and a large canvas feel, that will allow us to surround content in a way that is non-interruptive, but instead is actively participating [with the consumer],” said Sheldon.

The strategy is similar to the one used by other luxury car makers in 2007, when the iPhone launched. Yahoo and Jaguar North America, for instance, partnered on mobile campaigns on Yahoo’s mobile site at that time. Analysts expect Apple to have sold between 200,000 and 300,000 iPads during its first weekend of availability, according to published reports.

While the device has created a space for consumer-friendly mobile display ads, the iPad also has the potential to be a force in interactive consumer-engagement campaigns that run across applications, as well as e-commerce. An iPad owner may only have to click from a newspaper reader app to an e-commerce site to buy content promoted in the ad.

“If I’m reading a magazine and I see a movie ad, why wouldn’t I just start watching the movie immediately? Or if I am reading an interview with a band, why not be able to click to download their song?” asked Chang. “There are amazing conversion opportunities on this device.”

Mobile marketing technology vendors, including Greystripe and Crisp Wireless, have created ad formats optimized for the iPad to tap into the emerging opportunity. Mobile ad network Greystripe introduced an ad unit called the iFlash, which will allow a marketer to run a Flash ad on both iPad and the iPhone.

Crisp Wireless has updated its mobile ad placement technology, known as Adhesion, to take advantage of the customer tracking capabilities that the iPad allows. This unit lets advertisers track how long their ad is displayed, as well as whether it was expanded or other ways consumers interacted with it.

“We think the iPad is the perfect combination of traditional advertising and interactive advertising, because you are bringing together highly produced formats of media consumption with the interactivity and measurability of mobile advertising,” said Tom Foran, chief revenue officer at Crisp Wireless.

Chang added that he expects the measurement and analytics capabilities of some iPad-specific ad units to be integrated with traditional online and mobile technologies, once more marketers launch integrated campaigns on the device.

“We’ll see evolutionary things over the next year, when marketers begin to tie user data across all of the media that consumers are using,” said Chang.

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