Are tablets the future of advertising?

source: Marc Chagall

At a drinks party recently one magazine editor confided in me that he thought the future business model for his magazine lay in diversification of services.  Conferences and events have long been used by Media Week to generate added revenues.  (Have you booked your table yet ?) This kind of of thing is newer for the glossy magazine that we were discussing at the party and the editor was enthusiastic about the possibilities.  He mentioned that he had suggested curated holidays as a further revenue stream.  “Look at me, I started as a story teller, “he said, “but now I’m a travel agent”.

Diversification is good, but is this the only means available to print media to drive profits ?  Not according to Arif who describes the Mail online’s business journey here .

Of course at recent conferences and media get togethers the iPad and tablet advertising in general have been called the saviours of glossy magazines.  The latest round of UK tablet research from the IAB is bullish as you might expect about advertising on tablet computers.  47% consumers see it as the future of advertising overall.  They expect to see their favourite brands’ ads on tablets.  UK consumers want ad funded content and enjoy interacting with tablet advertising.  However the research also marks a level of criticism from respondents about tablet advertising.  30% claim to be disappointed with current ads. 

I don’t know how this compares with their level of disappointment with ads on other media (they may be a very critical bunch), but consumer expectations aside I do think that there is a necessary step for our industry to take in order to set conditions for ad funded content on tablets to flourish.

I can understand that the IAB’s respondents want a good bit of interactivity and entertainment from Tablet ads.  My way of judging good advertising is less to do with how entertaining it is (I am easily entertained as everyone who knows me will acknowledge).  It has more to do with whether it has fulfilled one or other of the two criteria of good effective advertising (that sells stuff).  Has it created demand? Has it harvested demand?

Google shook up the demand harvesting side of our business by offering shared risk to advertisers.  It is time for the same step change to radicalise the demand creation aspect of advertising.  We need to see media owners, media agencies and clients enter into shared risk discussions that set out clear and consistent kpis for medium and longterm advertising objectives.  This will itself drive best practice attribution modelling and accurate cross media research.

We have been pioneering this at MediaCom. It is a trickle of revenue for most mainstream media owners.  It is time to open the flood gates.

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