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Best practices for advertising on the iPad: Industry experts

April 15, 2010

ipad1There is no doubt that Apple’s iPad has sent ripples through the mobile advertising industry. But with new ad formats come opportunities and challenges for marketers trying to figure out what works best from a creative standpoint.

As with every platform, creative execution should be based on capabilities that can be used to the marketer’s advantage in better engaging consumers. Here are some best practices from industry experts.

“In designing campaigns for iPad, we’ve looked at everything we’ve done with rich media over the past year on iPhone and combined it with the larger screen and faster processing power of the iPad,” said Theo Skye, creative director at Medialets, New York.

“The iPad gives publishers and brands new and creative opportunities for creating meaningful and truly engaging experiences with the consumer,” he said.

Creative guidelines
Mr. Skye said that marketers need to make sure that the landing page does not rely on any Web browser plug-ins such as Flash or Java to render content.

For any embedded video delivery, marketers need to remember to use the HTML5 <video> tag.

Additionally, it is important to design pages with fluid layouts that scale to either device orientation. The concept of a mouseover/rollover/hover has no relevance on touch screen devices.

It is important to consider the speed of mobile data networks and offer landing page content that is not too byte-heavy.

“The unique opportunity for advertisers on the iPad is to leverage the best of its rich media capabilities coupled with its targeting abilities,” said Paran Johar, chief marketing officer at JumpTap, New York. “By leveraging the form factor for content consumption, advertisers can maximize how they interact with users and provide an engaging brand experience.”

Lack of Flash
What does the lack of Flash support mean for advertising on the iPad? 

“Missed opportunity,” said Tom Foran, chief revenue officer at Crisp Wireless, New York, on the company’s blog. “Online ad networks such as Tribal Fusion, Glam, and 24/7 Real Media, as well as publishers that sell direct, are not equipped to deal with non-Flash rich media ads.”

This brings up the question of what brand advertisers need to do to reach the iPad’s fertile audience.

Rich-media JavaScript ads can be rendered on both the iPhone and iPad.

Engage them
Nikao Yang, executive vice president of AdColony, Los Angeles, recommended that engaging video be a part of all advertising campaigns for iPad.

The opportunity lies in the fact that the iPad can support instant loading, HD quality video ads.

Full-color custom banner creative is also key, per Mr. Yang.

“A 728×90 banner is great exposure for brands on the 1024×768 screen of the iPad,” Mr. Yang said. “It is a great way to connect with consumers.”

Mr. Yang stressed that full color is absolutely critical.

Additionally, different types of contextual execution are important. For example, a beverage company may find it useful to place advertisements within a iPad soccer game. Clickable billboards on the game’s soccer field can make quite a statement for a brand.

“The iPad’s touch screen interface makes it a great tool for viral promotion,” Mr. Yang said. “A banner could ask consumers to tap-to-tweet, for example.

“By tapping on a banner consumers are taken to their Twitter account where they can post their opinion on a product,” he said. 

Mack McKelvey, senior vice president of marketing at Millennial Media, Baltimore, MD, provided the following best practices for brands looking to advertise on the iPad.

— Ensure your Web site (or landing page or application) is working correctly on the device and that the post-click is thought through. For example, click to call will not work on an iPad

— Understand that it will not be enough to simply make  current creative larger—creating specific iPad creatives will be required 

— The iPad in-app environment is unique. Companies are creating iPad-specific creative. Become familiar with some of these advances like “Return to Play” that allows a game to pause while consumers interact with an advertisement and return at their leisure

— Remember that while reach, at scale, is not currently available on the iPad, that will change quickly. If engaging consumers via advertising in a unique way is part of the campaign goals, factor connected devices into the mobile media plan, not just feature phones or smartphones

“Above all else, think mobile,” Ms. McKelvey said. “The device was built on mobile functionality, for consumers to consume content wherever and whenever they desire.”

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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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