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Eye Candy Wins Clicks of Tablet Users, Research Says

Now that you've seen the handwriting on the proverbial sales receipt and added mobile ads to your marketing mix, don't make the mistake of recycling the same smartphone ads for tablets. Tablet users want  attention-grabbing "eye candy" that takes advantage of the full multimedia features of their devices, new research finds.

Smartphone users seem to prefer to keep things simple on their devices. A Harris Interactive study, for example, found that very few smartphone users preferred ads that are like commercials or that featured video. Just 15 percent of all adults favored such ads on their phone, versus 63 percent who preferred more basic coupons, deals or newsletters.

Tablet users, on the other hand, are more likely to prefer ads that feature video, 360-degree views, striking photos and interactivity. A study sponsored by Adobe found that flashy iPad ads packed with eye candy were more engaging for users than their static print counterparts. These results were consistent with earlier research from media agency UM and Time, Inc., which indicated that videos were the most desired features of iPad ads.

Last August, the Nielsen Company found that 40 percent of iPhone users said they were likely to pay attention to ads that featured an interesting video. iPad owners, the researchers found,  were 9 percentage points more likely to say the same and 20 percent more likely to enjoy ads with interactive features or click on ads with multimedia events.

Though smartphones and tablets are mobile devices, usage habits and preferences do not fully overlap. Smartphone users are more likely to be on the go and task-oriented , researchers say, while tablet users tend to be more focused on entertainment.

The common ground for both categories of users, though, was a desire for ads that leave them within the app versus ads that pull them out to a Web browser. Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of iPhone users said they did not want ads that take them outside an app. iPad owners, while statistically somewhat more easygoing, gave those ads a thumbs-down 61 percent of the time.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith
Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.