I admit it. I decided to buy that darn Apple tablet before I even knew what it was priced at. I’m as susceptible to Apple’s marketing tactics as the next guy. But am I the ideal audience for this class of personal hardware? As a software developer? As a business person? Not really.
From what I can tell right now, the Apple iPad is the perfect device for those who have lighter computing needs, or will serve as a companion device that covers the majority of your needs outside of the office -- books, magazines, movies, music, email, web surfing, and games. It is a great lifestyle device and Steve Jobs’ pricing strategy makes it clear he wants this to be a device for everyone. The possible competing hardware has a narrower audience. Netbooks for instance, I see more as an economical and light laptop alternative for students and business travelers who need to run PC software. The Kindle and other eReaders are uni-taskers. No, the iPad is in its own class right now. Finally, we have a device for the glossy, full page, magazine style ad experience. We don’t expect advertisers will want to run simple banners here.
Crisp Wireless has been anticipating new classes of devices -- and their new audiences -- as part of our product planning initiatives for Rich Media Ad Unit technology. Our innovative ad unit design concepts and ad rendering scripts work great on Android, iPhone and many other devices. And we’ve done this work to date to fit within the CPU constraints and screen limitations of these smaller super-smart phone devices.
Enter the Apple iPad: Mobile Safari + 1 GHz Apple 'A4' CPU + gorgeous 9.7-inch IPS LCD display. It is a great device for rich media advertising. Both in apps and on the web, the device has what it needs to be fully compatible with our products. Apple decided to leverage largely the same resource efficient operating system for the iPad as what runs on the iPhone. I believe this was necessary to get to the 10 hour battery life. And because our products are well tested on the iPod Touch and iPhone, we can already make accurate predictions about the iPad compatibility.
The following is a summary of the new products and capabilities Crisp Wireless will be offering on the iPad:
- Adhesion with expandable and animated rich media advertising for iPad
- A broad variety of rich media ad unit templates and components for iPad
- Bandwidth sensitive ad units for WiFi and 3G models of the iPad
- Great ad engagement metrics and reporting for iPad
Adobe Flash is still absent from this device and that's too bad. I don't think the argument about the device not having the CPU power to pull it off is going to stick any longer. Without waiting for Apple, we are working to solve this. Stay tuned!
If you have questions about the advertising possibilities on this or any other device, feel free to contact us.
I've just read this article "Apps call, but will your phone answer" in MSNBC.com’s coverage of last week’s CES conference. It's a topic which everyone here at Crisp is keenly aware off. This article clearly makes the point that apps work on some phones, but not all. However, in reality the fragmentation issue of app incompatibility is significantly worse than portrayed in that article. It has been around for a long time and isn’t getting any better because there really isn’t any unifying technology that is making much headway.
While industry giants like Google prefer standards, software developers have a self-interest in pursuing new technologies. To compare, one would easily assume it would be better and easier for auto parts manufacturers and car mechanics if everyone drove a car similar engine technology. But the days of the Model-T are over. This is a mature marketplace with (too) many types of cars that are still relatively expensive and increasingly diverse.
Software developers, just like auto mechanics, benefit from the hard-to-achieve and broad skill set they’ve nurtured after years of building apps on multiple platforms. Recent mobile software platform initiatives such as LiMo, Maemo, Bada, WebOS prove that there are plenty of people who don’t think that Windows Mobile, Palm, RIM, Android, BREW, Java ME, and Apple have done enough to complicate matters for developers and content publishers.
Still, educating content publishers and advertisers that device fragmentation (app incompatibility) is a large problem, has been around for a long time and remains the important truth. Acknowledging the problems while offering solutions to simplify the complexity for them has been one of the tactics Crisp employs to do business in mobile. If you’d like to hear about how we do it, don't hesitate to contact me, or any other mobile veteran here at Crisp Wireless.
Let's get rid of the traditional online measurement methodology for mobile campaigns and get real about what we can measure and what those measurements mean in mobile. Let’s face it, many mobile campaigns today are very poorly targeted, capped, and measured because doing this right is difficult. At the same time, brand managers are faced with justifying their spend in this new channel. The lack of standard, reliable, and insightful measurement is hindering the growth of mobile advertising. To add to this confusion, many mobile ad networks and technology companies are making promises that exceed the ability of the technology and further confuse the marketplace.
Mobile Campaign Measurement is Broken
So let’s start with what isn’t working. First, using the click through rate as the de facto standard for measuring the success of a mobile campaign is too simplistic of a measurement. Mobile display advertising should encourage click-interactivity but not necessarily click-through events. In fact, a successful rich media ad campaign may result in negligible click through rates. This is especially true in mobile. Mobile technology provides the capability to launch brand videos on embedded players, to directly initiate a call to the advertiser, or to auto-locate and route users to nearby stores. In addition, rich media expandable panels provide brand interactivity and information without requiring the user to leave the mobile site. Be warned: click-throughs launch separate landing pages which can take much longer to load on mobile networks. This can quickly turn a positive advertiser (and publisher) experience into a negative one.
Mobile ad networks and rich media vendors dipping their toes into mobile are focused on the scale of their business and leveraging their existing know-how’s. It is not surprising that many of their ads do not take advantage of the unique capabilities of mobile devices; nor do they adequately handle the challenges of mobile ad serving. They tend to drive users to micro-sites, and thus they try to focus your attention on CTR as their go-to measurement benchmark. While CTR it is important to their business, it is not necessarily important to yours.
The next challenge is audience measurement. Every mobile technology provider is using their own way of determining unique visitors in mobile, which aren’t necessarily as accurate as the way it is done on the web using cookies. Online, due to frequent deletion of cookies on browsers and access from multiple computers, the unique visitors are overstated about 2.5 times in the server logs. This creates a vast overstatement of audience reach. Early on in mobile, there certainly have been some issues causing the understating the audience. Like when IP addresses were considered unique user identifiers by some or when page and image caching on the network were poorly understood. Still today, impression beacons (small invisible gif) are used to track ad impressions on the server but a good portion of mobile devices misbehave and won’t download the darn pixel.
This and various other issues caused each mobile technology company to figure out their own way to measure based on more granular parameters. Now that cookies are better supported on mobile, we could move toward a more standard methodology, but again face the challenge of audience overstatement due to a variety of complex factors like gateway cookies vs. device-side cookies, carrier HTTP headers and more.
Mobile is unique and its measurement needs to be also. Metrics around mouse-hover times or other online standards are meaningless in mobile. It takes a mobile expert to figure out what can be measured in mobile and how to do it.
What Needs to Be Fixed
The time is ripe for re-inventing the ad format, placement and measurement of campaigns. A mobile ad format needs to be interactive, captivating, rich, and leverage the medium – not just simple banners. Ad placement should take advantage of the mobile display size without annoying or confusing the customer. Measurements need to detail the interactivity with the ad and explain the corrections applied due to device form factor and technology. Measurements need to accurately show that a campaign reached the promised target segments.
At Crisp Wireless, we are focusing on solving these issues because the mobile channel is the perfect medium for premium ad campaigns. Contact our team to see demonstrations and to hear more about the innovative ways to create and measure mobile campaigns.