First, marketers had to get used to digital marketing. Then they had to incorporate mobile phones. Now they have to figure out marketing strategies for yet more devices—tablets.
By the end of the year, 53.5 million "media tablets"—iPads and similar devices like the Motorola Xoom and BlackBerry Playbook— will have made their way into sales channels, according to research released on July 8 titled "International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker."
So, logically, marketers need to have a strategy to deal with tablets. Offering advice on the direct marketing opportunities tablets offer are:
- Candy Bernhardt, UX architect at New York-based information technology and services provider Travelport; and
- Cedric Savarese, founder and CEO of Bloomington, Ind.-based online form provider FormAssembly.com.
1. Think about campaign design. Remember that tablets are mobile, so consumers just may be using them in stores, Bernhardt says. That presents the opportunity to "mix a targeted message with a location" and provide an on-the-spot coupon.
"Specifically, with tablets," Bernhardt adds, "this means you have much more space to engage with larger media—videos and big imagery—[compared to smartphones] but target campaign content regionally for additional stickiness."
In the context of integrated campaigns, tablets also help track effectiveness when coupons and QR Codes are used, Bernhardt says. But remember that the last click may not be as important as driving overall behavior. Interact with consumers and have fun. For instance, she says, have them use the built-in cameras and microphones. "Perhaps contests become singing contests with real video and audio, which become viral because people need to vote on a winner."
2. Think about Web page and Web form design for tablets. Savarese says a few aspects of designing for tablets are different. So he advises marketers:
- Use Web standard technologies (HTML5) for audio and video content, while avoiding Flash and other third-party plugins.
- Beware of pixel-sized layouts. "Tablet devices have different pixel densities that may result in your Web page looking too small on some devices. Use the viewport meta tag to set the right initial 'zoom' level for your page."
- "Some things just don't work on touch devices—like mouse-based gestures (hover) or file attachments. Make sure you don't rely on those."
- "Keep your form layout simple and compact, with just one field per line, with the label positioned above the input."
- "Make sure that your inputs, especially checkboxes and radio buttons, are large enough that they can be selected accurately on touch devices. Also, you want your HTML markup to correctly associate labels with inputs so that a tap on either achieves the desired intent."
- "Use the new HTML5 input types, like 'email' inputs. This ensures the correct keyboard layout is brought up on touch devices."
- "Auto-correction and auto-capitalization can be turned off on a field-by-field basis if they interfere with data entry."
- "For drop-down menus, keep each option short, so it doesn't get truncated when displayed in the scroll list (iPhone/iPad)."