iPadding The Ad Budget

26 03 2010

I told you this thing was going to rock the planet. No, it may not be the perfect tablet computer, but it is a huge step in the right direction. And the 3rd of April 2010 is going to go down in tech history as the day traditional online advertising died. Bye bye, Miss American Ad Pie.

In case you haven’t pre-ordered yours (I did, thank you very much) or made plans to be at an Apple Store a week from tomorrow, you’re going to miss out on this mega event.

You see, in spite of a recession, advertisers are actually lining up to spend gigantic wads of money to be able to place interactive ads in iPad versions of Time, Wired, Sports Illustrated, and more. Banner ads? Boring! Grey-scale Kindle screen? Bah! Smudgeable glossy pages? Neanderthals!

Sure, one could argue that the iPad versions of print magazines and newspapers are really no different from what could be delivered to desktop computers. And this assertion would be very true. But the iPad has many other things going for it, most notably its portability and wifi (or 3G).

As I waxed poetic recently, the iPad is a bridge device between iPhone, computer and TV. Sure, the first-gen will be missing some nice features (like camera and phone), but the rush to create apps just for it, along with enhanced advertising content, mean that it is being taken seriously by developers and marketers alike.

And no one even knows how many of these things Apple will be able to sell.

While the prognosticators vary considerably, I have seen numbers from 2 to 5 million for 2010, and as many as 7 million in 2011. While that’s not exactly at the same level of iPhones (now over 45 million worldwide in three years), one must consider that the iPad is more expensive than iPods and iPhones, and is also being viewed by many future customers as supplemental, not primary, devices.

But it is the unabashed confidence of these forward-thinking advertisers that has caught my attention. iPad users will certainly reside in a very comfortable and sought-after demographic ($500-700 toys are highly discretionary, you know), yet I can’t help thinking they see a future here for video-enhanced interactive advertising that heretofore has not been exploited. Or leveraged.

And after iPad and its soon-to-appear imitators have helped build that bridge to television, expect ever more of it on our big screens as well. TV apps. Interactive content. Advertising sidebars and cul-de-sacs. And ever-so-sharp targeting to folks most likely to buy your product.

Now if someone would pad my wallet a little. These cool gadgets are starting to add up. And I bet my kids are each going to want one, too.

Dr “Mac To The Core” Gerlich


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