Brands and the white heat of technology
While many are predicting apps and mobile to be the next big advertising channels – incorporating everything from full sponsorship through to in-app advertising and contract publishing – the iPad has upped the ante. Pete Davis looks at how these technologies are changing the media landscape and what they offer marketers.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveils the iPad tablet
There has been an explosion of media choices for brands over the past few years, much of it inspired by new technology. One of the big growth areas is mobile, particularly the app market, and we have seen a big increase in these opportunities coming through our website.
With mobile ad spend increasing 32% from 2008-2009 and results expected to show further growth through 2010, what is becoming apparent is that mobile advertising and mobile apps are no longer something that should be utilised by the daring few, but rather, that they are increasingly being seen as an important channel and one that all marketers should be exploring.
However, just when marketers might have thought they were starting to understand the app market, the arrival of the iPad and other tablet technology has upped the ante. An increasing number of magazines have now ported across to the iPad with cutting-edge technology magazines like Wired and iGizmo leading the charge, and this is opening up further opportunities for advertisers.
Julian Lloyd-Evans, managing director of advertising at Dennis Publishing, which produces iGizmo, explains: “When we released iGizmo for iPad, it topped the download charts for two weeks, and we now have over 31,000 apps downloaded. This figure not only allows us to add value for our existing advertisers in the online magazine, which is distributed to 100,000 people, but it also gives us a solid basis from which to create new opportunities specifically for this media.
“While there is, of course, still room for traditional-style display advertising in the iPad version, there is also the opportunity for brands to create much more innovative ways of engaging with readers, using the range of multimedia tools that are available.”
Dennis Communications, which is the customer publishing arm of Dennis Publishing, currently works with brands such as Waitrose and Dixons to create bespoke online magazines – not simply online reproductions of their printed magazines, and Lloyd-Evans believes there is a very real opportunity for building interesting and informative magazines around a product line or manufacturer, and really owning the market through the iPad.
“Many marketers would want to hold off until the market has become more established, but we’re in a unique position at the moment where if brands can get in quickly they will be able to dominate the market for comparatively little investment,” he explains. “Being the first major food brand or fitness brand to produce a tablet-based magazine app, would make it much harder for the competition to get a foothold. While we’re presently at the early adopter stage, within twelve months this technology is going to be more prevalent and people will be much more discerning about what they download making it harder to get established.”
And brands can gain significant insight through this, for example a company like Waitrose can easily track whether a pork recipe is more interesting than a chicken recipe, for example, or what wine people are reading up on most and where. This can then drive stock control as well as product development.
As other technology companies such as Google with its Android platform along with Samsung and Sony all jump on the tablet bandwagon, so the market will become more and more mainstream and many predict that tablet technology will soon become a staple for most households, making it a powerful media channel.
But for now, the most pressing challenge for marketers is staying on top of these developments and making the right choice for their particular brand. For many, this can feel like an almost insurmountable task. However, this is where sites like Getmemedia.com can be a vital part of the process, by showing marketers what is out there.
Being technically savvy is of vital importance to a brand. One brand manager recently informed me that they have constructed a new media development programme to allow them to test how effective certain media is in connecting with their consumers.
It’s worth remembering that quite simply, without testing or trying new media you can’t learn what works best for your brand. Many companies will spend £5million on new product development but hesitate to invest £200k on new media trials. Now where’s the sense in that?