Whether you’re an early adopter or still admiring from a distance, there is no doubt that tablets are becoming increasingly prevalent among consumers. Sure, not everyone you know has one, and they have not quite reached the smartphone’s fact of life ubiquity. But, the truth is… it will not be long.
Above and beyond glancing around any given room, we cannot help but remark on the consumer phenomenon when we consider the reported growth. Forrester’s “Global Business and Consumer Tablet Forecast Update, 2013 to 2017,” shines a light on Apple’s pioneering success as a reference, as it looks forward to the next few years, noting that the company has sold more than 140 million iPads since the device hit the market a few years ago.
The Tablet Market Phenom
The Forrester report summary notes that much has changed since the launch of the iPad:
Since then, the tablet market has grown into a mass market phenomenon. But its potential still remains unrealized: Forrester forecasts that tablets will reach an installed base of 905 million users by 2017. This growth — up from just 15 million users in 2010 — will catapult the tablet from merely a popular mass-market device to a highly visible mainstay device among consumers and businesses in developed nations.
The report suggests that tablets have joined the PC and the smartphone as a mainstay device, turning what was once “…the big two” into “a big three, with tablets forming the third point of the computing troika for both consumers and businesses.”
Engaging & Converting Tablet Users
So, what about us marketers? Have we fully acknowledged that these connected devices are being rapidly adopted by consumers, ingraining new usage habits such as household sharing, screen shifting and co-viewing?
It has always taken a few years for marketers to fully understand the capabilities of newer channels and platforms. Once we have this down, we can adopt integrated strategies that allow our media mix to thrive. Consider all the questions we have had to ask and answer on emerging platforms in order to market, engage and convert with them:
- Which digital platforms are better for branding, better for direct response, display, search, social, mobile, video?
- Can display evoke the same brand response as TV?
- Do I have the right campaign management and optimization systems to market across platforms?
- Is the infrastructure there for making the most of this platform?
- How are the creative specs and options different?
- How do we leverage visual engagement across screens?
- How do we create for Internet everywhere (ubiquity)?
- Content, placement, context, audience — how should I plan and buy?
- What do I need to optimize: placement, creative, call-to-action, path to conversion, landing page?
- To do all this, do we rely on automation/machine learning or the human element? If both, what’s the balance?
The list of past questions asked and answered goes on and on, as you can see. But the overarching question is about how to get clarity and adapt.
Embracing The Tablet Market
Given the protracted cycles we’ve navigated with each emerging platform that showed up and stayed for a while, we should know that getting a jump on tablets comes down to marketers’ getting things right in a few specific areas:
- Understanding everything we can about our audiences and using tools to expand and optimize our opportunity with them.
- Delving into behavioral trends within this new environment and developing approaches, messaging, and a user interface to tap into those.
- Taking great care to establish our toolset and roster of suppliers to service what we execute.
- Keeping up on creative options and suppliers in the marketplace — but also creating an environment that supports creative innovation within the marketing team and plan itself.
- Applying analytics data to maximize our efforts and scale our efforts, constantly improving upon audience targeting, creative, messaging, path to conversion, merchandising, brand lift, engagement and more.
Moving beyond idle curiosity and taking our hints from consumer adoption trends, I would like to think we’ve learned enough to get serious — sooner. That is, to skip the lull and invest our energy in fully embracing this platform now.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.